This inquiry focuses on Shays’ Rebellion. It’s a fantastic inquiry that stays true to the inquiry process with an approach that fits with the real-world middle school classroom.
Shays’ Rebellion encouraged the call for a Constitutional Convention in 1787. However, the rebellion itself is often only mentioned as a footnote to the story of the Articles of Confederation. I think that this is a mistake. With this inquiry, the students investigate the reasons for Shays’ Rebellion and the response. At the end of the inquiry, the students design a monument for Daniel Shays, and with this monument design, the students must think about long-standing themes in U.S. History – freedom, rebellion, and heroism. My students were all able to come up with unique ideas for their monuments, ones that really explored why Daniel Shays rebelled, and the implications for his rebellion.
This inquiry includes three formative lessons – ones that review content and practice Common Core skills. The summative assessment includes project directions, scaffolding questions, and a rubric for assessment. The unit is linked with the NYS Social Studies Framework, Common Core Anchor Standards, and the Social Studies Practices for NYS. I created this lesson plan in a style similar to those written and posted by C3teachers.org.
This product includes:
- A 3-page lesson plan tied with NYS standards and common core (PDF, PowerPoint, and link to Google Slides version)
- 3 formative lessons, a Historical Background reading, illustrated notes that discuss the major features of the Articles of Confederation, a primary source activity where students compare perspectives on the rebellion, and a historical background reading about Shays’ Rebellion.
- A summative assessment project where students design a monument to Daniel Shays with a rubric included.
- I’ve also included digital versions of the lessons for implementation in Google Classroom.
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