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First Continental Congress Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, students learn about the role of the First Continental Congress in American history. They will use this information to write their own letter to George III, and compare their letters to the actual petition of the colonists.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the purpose and goals of the First Continental Congress
  • Contextualize the First Continental Congress in the buildup to the American Revolution
  • Practice reading and analyzing primary source material

Length

90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Materials

Instructions

  • Begin with a discussion about the American Revolution.
    • Why did the American colonists break into revolution against Britain? What were they upset about?
    • Do you think the American colonists tried to find solutions to their problems and discontent before resulting to revolution? What did they try to do?
  • Hand out copies of First Continental Congress Lesson for Kids: Summary & Results.
  • You will read this lesson as a class, with one student reading aloud at a time and switching readers with every paragraph. Using this method, read the sections ''A Growing Rebellion'' and ''A United Approach''. Pause here to discuss this information.
    • What were the Intolerable Acts? Why do you think the American colonists were so upset about these laws? How did they respond?
    • What was the First Continental Congress? Why was it significant that the colonies elected representatives to come together? Had this happened before in colonial history? Do we elect representatives from the states today?
    • What were some of the different opinions in the First Continental Congress? Why do you think people had such different opinions about the best way to proceed? What would be the advantages of going to war? What would be the disadvantages? Did colonies in this time period often rebel against their empires?
  • As a class, continue reading and complete the lesson. Discuss this information.
    • What did the colonists decide to do in the First Continental Congress? Did they declare independence? Why not?
    • What is a boycott? Why do you think this was a significant action? What does this tell us about the role of the colonies in the British Empire?
    • The First Continental Congress sent a letter to King George III- what does this tell us about the colonists' views of their place in the British Empire? Did they still see themselves as British citizens?
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

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