Focus on Founding Fathers
Students will be able to summarize the contributions of Founding Fathers to the development of the United States. Students will be able to use a variety of sources to conduct research. Students will be able to write an informative summary about the life and contributions of a Founding Father.
Introduction (15 minutes)
- To begin the lesson, tell your class that they'll be doing some research on Founding Fathers.
- Define the word founding to your students as establishing or setting up. Explain that the Founding Fathers were men who helped set up the United States of America.
- Remind your class that the term biography refers to the story of someone's life, written by someone else.
- Display the paining The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, so that the whole class can see it.
- Start a class discussion about the painting's elements. Great questions include: What is happening in this painting? Who is shown here? Why is this moment significant?
- Tell students that the men in the painting are the Founding Fathers, and that today, they'll be learning about the lives of these men by completing a scavenger hunt.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (30 minutes)
- Show students a picture of George Washington. Tell them that he is considered to be a Founding Father.
- Pass out a copy of the Scavenger Hunt graphic organizer to each student. Explain that they'll be using print and digital sources to help them fill out the form about their founding father.
- Read the paragraph from the George Washington worksheet aloud to your students.
- Elicit help from the class to fill in the graphic organizer fields with information from the paragraph.
- Show students a website containing biographical information on George Washington. A good example can be found here.
- Add information to the graphic organizer based on the information on the website.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (60 minutes)
- Assign each student a partner and a Founding Father.
- Give students access to books and web sources to complete their scavenger hunts.
- Circulate the room to ensure that students are finding and recording appropriate information on their graphic organizers.
Independent Working Time (45 minutes)
- Tell students to use their notes from the scavenger hunt to write a report about their Founding Father. Depending on your students' skill level, this report could be anywhere from a paragraph to a page long.
- Enrichment: For advanced students, have them also create a "Facebook" like page for their Founding Father giving a profile, likes section, friends, pictures, etc.
- Support: For students needing support, give them starter stems for each paragraph of their report.
Assessment (30 minutes)
- Check biography reports for understanding of this type of writing activity and understanding of Founding Fathers.
Review and Closing (15 minutes)
- Facilitate a class discussion about the major accomplishments of the Founding Fathers. Great discussion questions to pose to your students include: What qualifications do these men seem to all possess that makes them important to our history? Do you think they would be happy with where the U.S. is today? Why or why not?