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Monday, April 15, 2013

10 Resources for Teaching About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and Maine. The day commemorates the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, The Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a New Englander this is a good day to review some good resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution.

Mission U.S. offers an interactive journey through Boston in 1770 (five years before the Battles of Lexington and Concord) through the perspective of a 14 year old boy who has to choose sides. The game can be played entirely online or downloaded for play on your PC or Mac (you do need an Internet connection to save a game in progress).



Revolutionary War Animated is a great place to find nice animated maps of troop movements throughout the Revolutionary War. I've used this resource with one of my classes for a couple of years now and while the animations are simple, they do a great job of illustrating the battles.

America, A Narrative History is a text published by WW Norton. As a free supplement to the book, Norton has published ten Google Earth tours. These tours include major themes and events in US History. The list includes the Revolutionary War, the path to the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis & Clark's expedition, the Indian Removal Act, Pre-Columbian North America, the national parks system, and the 20th Century power grid. All of the tours include multiple images and references. Some of the tours also have "tour questions" for students to answer.

Teaching American History has a series of interactive lessons about the American Revolution that are suitable for middle school and elementary school use. The lessons are divided into three chronological sections; 1775-1778, 1778-1781, and Treaty of Paris 1783. All of the lessons in the first two sections ask students to locate a place on a map. Students then answer a question about that place. After answering the question students are given a short text lesson. The lessons appear in chronological order. In the section on the Treaty of Paris students move through a series of placemarks on a map to learn about the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Pictures of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Crash Course has a ten part series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.



Keith Hughes offers Colonialism for Dummies as part of his series on U.S. History for Dummies.


The American Revolution Center has a fantastic interactive timeline about the American Revolution. The timeline features an easily navigated combination of text and images. Click on any event in the timeline to view a short paragraph about that event. Click on an image of an artifact in the timeline and a you will see an enlarged image of that artifact. The page hosting the enlarged artifact image also hosts a description of the artifact and in some cases a video podcast about the artifact. It really is one of the best US History timelines that I've come across.

Liberty, The American Revolution is a feature on PBS.org. There are a couple of resources in this feature that are worth noting. First, and probably the most useful, is The Chronicle of Revolution. The Chronicle of Revolution provides a timeline of events that contributed to the start of the American Revolution. Students can read newspaper accounts as they go through the chronicles. Within each newspaper account there are links to further reading about important people and places mentioned in the articles. The second item of interest in Liberty, The American Revolution is the Road to Revolution game. The game isn't really a game, it's more like a quiz with some graphics added to it. The game is designed to quiz students on the information in The Chronicle of Revolution.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide is a free iPad app about the American Revolution. The video embedded below provides a detailed overview of the app. Here are a few of the highlights of the app:
Narration of text.
Quizzes after each section.
Interactive images.
Flashcards
Comparisons to other revolutions.

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