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Year 5 Topic - American Independence

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Learning Aims:

1. To know that by 1776 Britain had established 13 colonies in America.

2. To understand the reasons for the War of Independence taking place.

3. To understand why the American colonists declared Independence from Great Britain in 1776.

4. To identify primary and secondary sources.

5. Retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction reading.

6. Read poetry.

7. To write for an audience - political cartoon.

Task 1

The period of history that we are looking at on the timeline is points 5, 6 and 7.

The United States of America has not always been very united! Indeed, there have been many battles and wars over land and power.

In 1773, there existed 13 British colonies on the East coast of America. These colonies were ruled by England.

Before we move on let's make sure we know about the colonies.

Watch Horrible Histories - Founding Pilgrims

Watch this short Khans Academy video about Jamestown

Using the information complete the first page of the Scavenger Hunt. See if you can beat the clock on this map game.

Task 2

The colonists were not happy with being ruled by England. King George III along with Parliament in Britain, wanted to assert their power over the colonists, showing them who was in control. How did this situation come about?

In 1765, Priminister George Grenville passed the Stamp Act. All official documents, even playing cards, had to have the stamp and the stamp had to be paid for. This was a form of taxation. The colonists had not been happy about this, not because the tax was high but because it was taxation without representation.

The Sons of Liberty were formed and they used any means to prevent the British from enforcing the tax.

In 1766, the tax was almost completely abandoned.

Then in 1773, to ensure the colonist knew who was in control the British instead placed a tax on tea!

This led to the Boston Tea Party.

You can read about the Boston Tea Party in this story adapted from This Country of Ours.

Go and read this newspaper article about the Boston Tea Party.

Watch this TED-Ed video.

Here's the Liberty Kids episode.

Task 4

Political cartoons are a great way of presenting information to the reader in an easily digestible way. A cartoon can take as little as 4-5 seconds to look at and understand. Watch Kal explain his process for making political cartoons below.

Have a look at some American political cartoons in the video by Kraus and Spreers.

Now thinking about the situation at the Boston Tea Party, I want you to draw a political cartoon about the event. You will need to think about from what point of view you are going to be drawing. Are you going to be drawing from the perspective of King George III, the colonists, Sons of Liberty, a fish in the harbour or a chest of tea on the ship? Think carefully about the message you are trying to give to the viewer. Make sure you include a heading, facial expressions, labels and possibly speech. You can use any art material you want to complete the task or even do a digital drawing.

Task 5

So what happened after the Boston Tea Party?

Go and read 'Battle of Lexington' and 'Paul Revere's Ride' adapted from This Country of Ours.

Here is the Liberty Kids episode.

Today you have a choice about what activity you do:

1. Pretend that you are Paul Revere and write the story of the ride in your own


2. Copy out the "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” poem and illustrate it.

3. Perform the poem for an audience, you may even want to record yourself!

Task 6

Finally, in 1775, the American Revolution begins!

This was a war between the American colonists and the British. The colonists wanted to be independent of Britain and rule themselves.

Just for fun, watch this short film by Schoolhouse Rocks.

Research Project

I want you to create an enormous timeline. Use a long length of lining wallpaper and the resources below to create your own timeline of the revolution. Make sure you include important dates, what happened and who was involved. You can explore the links to find out more about each event and print off images to add to your timeline. You can take up to three days to complete this. When you are done ask a grownup to help you display it on a long wall.

MrDonn - scroll down to the sections you want.

Task 7

Now I am going to let you have a couple of days playing games!

Remember I am expecting you to read everything, not to skip bits, as I am not giving you anything else to read.

PBS Liberty road - this is a long game.

Mission American Revolution - play 'For CRown or Colony'.

Task 8

Read the newspaper article here about the Declaration of Independence.

Watch this video about primary and secondary sources. It is meant for slightly older learners you just need to know that there are two types of sources.

Read the newspaper article here about Yorktown. Was this article a primary or secondary source?

Have a go at this game!

Task 9

End of Unit Project

Time to show what you know!

To round up what you have been learning and to help you learn more I want you to complete this lap book.

Use the resources in this unit, books that you have and the internet to find out anything you do not already know.

Once you have finished the lap book take it to your grownup and show them what you have made. Try to explain everything you have found out about American independence.

Well done on finishing the unit!

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