American Revolution: An Electronic Field Trip
Project URL: www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnetusa/tgould/revwar.htm
In this program, students use the Internet to research events of the American
Revolution, then write a letter to/from a fictitious person
who could have been involved in that event. Prior to their
research, they learn the basic facts about major events of the
revolution using textbooks and Internet sources. After selecting a topic, students print background information from
the Internet. They read and highlight factual information and
descriptions for use in their letters. They then
compose their letters, using the model letter for guidance.
Internet sites for this project are of high interest and include virtual
tours that enable students to view historic sights
and artifacts, and to read primary source documents. These documents include a wealth of information about the struggles of
Revolutionary War participants. Students must evaluate data to create
vivid descriptions of events.
Students understand how a revolution can have a profound
effect on the economic, political, and social fabric of a nation.
They evaluate data by differentiating fact from opinion, identifying frames of reference, and
evaluating the author's
qualifications. These objectives are taken from the New York State
curriculum but could apply to any state or locality.
Students must use computers with Internet access and printers.
Ideally, a computer lab that can accommodate a full class would be
Students of all ability levels in grades 5-8 can work on this
program successfully. The flexibility in topic selection is such
that both disabled and gifted students can benefit
from participation. Students should have a basic knowledge of
computers and the Internet. They can work either individually or in pairs.
Students enjoy researching because of their comfort with the
Internet and are engaged in reading sophisticated
material. The American Revolution provides an opportunity for students to improve
their creative and expository writing skills while learning about an
important historical event. Even reluctant
readers and writers will be able to complete this task successfully.
Have students highlight the factual information contained in the
model letter. This will give them a clear sense of how to integrate
factual and fictitious information in their own letters.
About the teacher:
Terry Gould is a seventh grade social studies teacher at South
Orangetown Middle School in Blauvelt, New York. She is also team leader of an
interdisciplinary team of teachers. Terry has taught Social
grades 7-12 in this same Rockland County district for 29 years.