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US History

Unit Activity

Unit: The Foundation of the United States

This Unit Activity will help you meet these educational goals:
Inquiry SkillsYou will develop questions and plan investigations; use content knowledge
to develop compelling questions or supporting questions; apply disciplinary concepts and
tools; analyze societal issues, trends, and events; evaluate change and continuity over
time; gather, evaluate, and use evidence; develop credible explanations of historical
events and developments based on reasoned interpretation of evidence; develop
explanations and make persuasive arguments in support of your conclusions;
communicate your conclusions; and reflect on your actions.
21st Century SkillsYou will employ online tools for research and analysis, use criticalthinking and problem solving-skills, assess and validate information, and independently
raise questions and pursue leads.

For any historian, it is important to find and use historical resources and determine relevant
information from those sources. This activity will help you analyze and evaluate the
information presented in historical sources. You will interpret a famous Revolutionary image,
contemplate the impact of the image on the Revolutionary period, and provide short answers
to a few questions based on your analysis. You will also research a topic on the era before
the Revolution, analyze sources for information, and write a short essay describing your

Directions and Analysis

Task 1: The Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre is an important event in the period just before the American
Revolution. On March 5, 1770, five colonists were killed by British soldiers in the streets of
Boston. This incident increased tensions between the colonists and the British government,
bringing each closer to the beginning of the war.
This engraving of the Boston Massacre is by the famous patriot Paul Revere. Use the image
and your own knowledge of the period to answer the questions below, writing about three to
four sentences for each response.


a. Describe the imagery of the engraving, and note any specific details you find important.
Type your response here:
b. When and where did the engraving first appear? Does this influence the meaning?
Type your response here:
c. What was Reveres main purpose in producing this piece?
Type your response here:
d. Compare and contrast the colonial and British perceptions of the Boston Massacre and
Reveres engraving.
Type your response here:

e. Why might this image be interpreted as propaganda?

Type your response here:

Task 2: Causes and Effects of the American Revolution

A historians job is to study the past. This means that a historian must think about the causes
and effects of historical events, as well as peoples reactions or interpretations of the events.
For this task, youll need to think like a historian and research the causes or effects of a
historical event. Focus your research on one of these two topics:

How did religion play a role as a cause of the American independence movement
and subsequent Revolution?

How did the documents and ideals of the American Revolution, particularly the
Declaration of Independence, speak to all people, including women and African slaves?
How did these ideals clash with the reality of gender inequality and slavery?
Once you have decided on a topic, conduct research to find resources that provide evidence
to support your position. A few sources have been provided for you in the Resources section
below. You will use the sources you find, your notes, and your knowledge to write a short
(250- to 500-word) essay that answers the question you selected.
Using what you know about researching, examine your sources. For each source, you may
need to do research online to answer these questions:
Who authored the document?
What is the purpose of the document?
When was the document written?
What significant historical event or movement does the document represent?
Next, youll need to read each of the sources critically while thinking about these questions:

What is the credibility of the source?

Is there any noticeable bias?

How does the author form his or her argument?

What are the important themes, main ideas, and arguments presented in the
Finally, refer to your notes and the provided documents to write a short essay. Using the
author-date system, make sure you provide parenthetical, in-text citations for any information
you use from outside sources. When you have finished, reread your essay to check for all of
the points above, and then proofread it to be sure your work does not contain errors in
grammar or spelling.
Type your response here:


Writing Resources
Research and writing information
Creating a thesis statement
Methods for writing a high-quality paper
The author-date system
Content Resources
British view of the Boston Massacre
Paul Reveres engraving The Bloody Massacre in King Street
"Religion and the American Revolution" (Library of Congress)
"Religion and the American Revolution" (National Humanities Center)
"Two American Revolutions"
"The Declaration of Independence and Its Legacy"
Slavery and the Declaration of Independence
Letter from Abigail Adams
Document any references you used for this project below. At a minimum, include a title and
URL for any Internet resource:

Your teacher will use this rubric to evaluate the completeness of your work as well as the
clarity of thinking you exhibit.



Includes numerous relevant, well-formed points that show a thorough

analysis of historical resources.

Effectively evaluates the key points, main ideas, and arguments of the

Writes a concise essay that clearly and successfully synthesizes the

research information.


Includes many points that satisfactorily analyze historical resources.

Evaluates the key points, main ideas, and arguments presented in the

Writes an essay that completes the task by combining research



Includes some points that show some evaluation of historical

resources, but may omit key points.

Pinpoints many key points, main ideas, and arguments presented in

the research, but restates rather than analyzes this information.

Writes an essay that partially or incompletely utilizes the research

The essay contains multiple grammar or spelling errors.

Includes one or two points, but inadequately discusses or misses

important information from the resources.

Identifies or analyzes only a few of the key points, main ideas, and
arguments presented in the research.

Writes an essay that may include some information but is generally

incomplete and lacking proper analysis.


The essay contains a few minor grammar and spelling errors.


The essay is error free or contains minor grammar and spelling errors.

The essay contains numerous grammar and spelling errors.

Is completely off topic or blank.