Articles of Confederation Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Before the Constitution of the United States, there were the Articles of Confederation. In this lesson, students will explore the development of this early document and learn why it had to be replaced.

Learning Objectives

By the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the Articles of Confederation
  • compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution
  • summarize the reasons the Articles of Confederation failed


55-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.



Begin by introducing the lesson to the class. Read through the description of the related lesson and ask students to share what they know about the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and/or our country's government.

Next, begin reading through the lesson. Start with the first section, ''What Are the Articles of Confederation?'' Discuss:

  • What did the Second Continental Congress develop?
  • What was the purpose of this document?
  • What does the term constitution mean?

Read the next section, ''Defining the Articles'' and discuss:

  • How many articles were written into the document?
  • What is a confederation?
  • What are delegates?
  • Discuss each article as it is read. Identify potential problems associated with enforcing each article.

Move on to the next section, ''Why Didn't the Articles of Confederation Work?'' Discuss:

  • What were some of the problems with the Articles?
  • What was the solution?
  • What was the document that came about as a result of rethinking the Articles of Confederation?

Read the ''Lesson Summary'' and revisit the questions posed while reading each of the prior sections. Review the vocabulary words:

  • Constitution
  • Confederation
  • delegates

Check for Understanding

To check for understanding, have students take the related quiz.



To reinforce learning, have students complete the following activity.

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