Articles of Confederation Activities & Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

The Articles of Confederation was an important document in American history. Check out these activity and game ideas designed to keep your students engaged as they learn about this document.

Articles of Confederation Activities & Games

The Articles of Confederation was the precursor to the U.S. Constitution, agreed upon by the 13 original states, and ratified in early 1781. Although it was superseded by a new Constitution in 1789, it was the first successful attempt to form a government of the United States. It's, therefore, an important document, representing a significant moment in history, and is well worth learning about. In this lesson, we'll provide you with some possible activities and games you can use to help teach your students about the Articles of Confederation in a fun and engaging manner.

Summary Poster Activity

After students begin to learn about the Articles of Confederation they can solidify that knowledge by creating summary posters. The goal is for students to present the information they've learned in an easy to read, engaging, and clear way. The posters should summarize the following:

  • The role of the states vs. the federal government as laid out in the Articles of Confederation
  • The responsibilities of Congress as laid out in the Articles of Confederation
  • How Congress raises funds for itself
  • How congressional representatives were to be selected

To make this task easier, you can provide students with a plain language version of the Articles of Confederation, if needed.

Mock Convention

Another approach to teaching about the Articles of Confederation is to try to re-create the kinds of debates and discussions that may have occurred during the meetings of the Continental Congress. You can give students a brief description on which state they represent, and their particular concerns and beliefs. You can have students debate the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, or discuss the adoption of amendments. Students can even have wider discussions about raising revenue for paying foreign debts to France and Great Britain, or paying for soldiers' pensions - the kinds of discussions that would've been particularly problematic prior to the fully-fledged Constitution of 1789.

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