Students learn how the American colonists grew used to governing themselves and became increasingly unhappy with British policies toward the colonies. Students follow the development of those policies to see why the colonists ultimately declared independence from Britain in order to establish their own government. Finally, students analyze the Declaration of Independence to see how it addressed the colonists' concerns. As an extension, students look at primary sources to see how the colonists' reaction to the Stamp Act was being reported in London. This lesson feeds into the lesson “Wanted: A ‘Just Right’ Government,” but may be taught independently.
ANTICIPATE by asking students if they like to make their own decisions. Ask students how they would feel if they knew that someone else (parents, guardians) would make decisions for them the rest of their lives. Tell students they will be learning how Great Britain's control got so out of hand that the American colonists finally decided to declare independence.
DISTRIBUTE one "Get Off Our Backs" reading page to each student.
READ the pages with the class, pausing to discuss.
DISTRIBUTE one cutout activity half sheet to each student.
DISTRIBUTE a set of cutouts to students in pairs or small groups.
READ the directions on the half sheets.
ALLOW students to complete the half sheet activities. For Activity B, the pairs or groups should reconstruct the Declaration of Independence following the Activity B directions.
REVIEW the answers to the activities.
DISTRIBUTE one review worksheet to each student.
ALLOW students to complete the worksheet.
DISTRIBUTE one extension activity to each student.
READ the "London Magazine" excerpts with the class. Explain that these are real quotes from the magazine, and that the magazine readers would have been people in England. Pause to explain vocabulary words.
ALLOW students to complete the extension activities.
REVIEW the students' answers to the activities.
CLOSE by asking students what they think is the one thing the British did to the colonists that the colonists would have found the most upsetting. Call on students to share.