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Revolutionary War Maps

Core Theme: Revolutionary War

Grade Level: 8th

Duration of Lesson: One 45-50 minute period

Content Standards: Grades 6-8, HIST E: Explain the causes and consequences of
the American Revolution, with emphasis on both Colonial and British perspectives.

Lesson Summary: Students will compare two Primary Source maps for Boston and the surrounding area. One commissioned by the British and the other commissioned by Gen. George Washington.  Students will match up these two maps and then do a comparison of them, looking at accuracy and detail.  They will then be asked which side has the advantage.  We will be then using that information to analyze the advantages of good maps vs. local familiarity.

Materials Needed/Used:  Pencil, notebook paper, document analysis worksheet

Primary Sources 

A plan of Boston, and its environs, shewing the true situation of His Majesty's army, and also those of the rebels. Drawn by an engineer at Boston, Octr. 1775. The principal part of this plan was survey'd by Richard Williams, Lieutenant at Boston ... Engrav'd by Jno. Lodge. Library of Congress, American Memory

Map of Boston. George Washington to John A. Washington, July 27, 1775, with Map of Boston. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress.

Instructional Steps: Day #1
1. Introduction: Before we go into battle, what do we need?
     a. List items on board:  Food Weapons, Soldiers, Information
     b. What kind of information are we looking for (do we need?)
          i. Enemy’s location, geography, numbers, etc
2. Have the kids take the maps out of their envelopes
     a. What are we looking at? Get answers
     b. Hand out & complete the document analysis worksheet.
3. After analyzing these two maps.  Who do you think has the advantage? (English)
     a. Why?
4. Draw a map of your community (Smithville, Marshallville, Wooster, Orrville)
5. Compare similar community maps.
     a. What are the differences and similarities between your maps? 
     b. Why do these differences and similarities exist?
     c. Local familiarity gives can give an advantage over artistically accurate maps sometimes.
6. What are some other examples where this could also be true?
     a. What ultimately happened in and around Boston?
          i. Lexington & Concord
          ii. Siege of Boston
         iii. Breeds/Bunker hill
         iv. Continental Victory
1. Did any of these have to do with the maps used?
     a. Why or why not?

This is more of an introductory activity for the beginnings of the Revolutionary War, so the assessment is mostly informal.  It is important to make sure that student give feedback to the questions posed and that they complete the Document Analysis WS.


Created by Ethan Hamilton

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