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Shay's Rebellion

Lesson Plan

Created by Virginia Steiner

Shay's Rebellion


Grade Level: 


Estimated Duration of Lesson:

two days for computer research and then several days for assignment completion

Content Standards:

(Revised Social Studies Standards: Theme: U.S. Studies from 1492 to 1877. Topic: A New Nation. Content Statement 7.


Students will explore this website:  http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/index.html 

Lesson Summary:

Students will be accessing many of the pages found at the website above. The information they obtain will be written on file cards in short phrases. Pictures will also be needed; whether they draw them or get them from the computer does not matter. They should be given several days to complete the poster they create from the information they gather. Each student will receive an instruction page and can receive a copy of the grading sheet.

Instructional Steps:

1. Students will choose “Maps” on the home page of the site and look at the following to get a good idea of the location of Shays’ Rebellion and how it took place.
From “Maps”:
  • “Historic Maps”: 
  • “Map of the Springfield Arsenal, 1801” 
  • “Map of Troop Movements During Shays’ Rebellion”. 
From “Interactive Maps”:
  • “The Action at the Arsenal” 
  • “The Events of Shays’ Rebellion-An Animated Sequence”. 
2. Students will be researching three more of the sites from the home page (“Historic Scenes”, “People,”  and “Artifacts and Documents”) taking notes on file cards, and then using this information to create a poster on the events of Shays’ Rebellion. 
Students need at least five detailed facts for each topic and one picture for each topic.
Historic Scenes:
Students find at least 5 detailed facts for each topic and one picture for each topic.
  • September 1786-A Petition and Protest
  • January 25, 1787-A Bloody Encounter
  • March 1787-Taking the Oath:  Punishment and Appeasement 
Students will also use the “People” site to get information on the following people. Students will need five detailed facts and one picture for each person. Facts should center on the person’s involvement in Shays’ Rebellion, when possible.
  • one man who defended the United States arsenal at Springfield, MA
  • one man who was a part of the Regulators who attacked the U.S. arsenal
  • one man who was a Founding Father attending the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia
  • one man who was none of the above. 
Artifacts and Documents
Students choose one item from each of the following topics. Students will need 3 facts and one picture for each of these categories.
  • The Fabric of Everyday Life:  Objects and Clothing
  • The People in Arms:  Military Items
  • Dear Friend-Diaries and Correspondence
  • And Etcetera
Students will then create a poster using the above information plus pictures, which will show a great deal of varied information about Shays’ Rebellion and its time period. File cards need to be handed in as well as the grading sheet. 

Materials the teacher needs:

Computers for each student, a copy of the   for each and paper for the poster.

Materials students need: 

Instruction Sheet (optional), file cards, and the necessary items to complete the poster (colored pencils, etc.).