Founding Documents: The Meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

On June 8, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to write a declaration of independence. It named a committee to do the writing. One of its members was Thomas Jefferson, a lawyer from Virginia. He had been a leader in Virginia, and Virginia had elected him to the Continental Congress. The others on the committee were too busy with the revolution to work on the declaration, so Jefferson wrote it alone.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade 9-10 What was Most “Revolutionary” About the Declaration of Independence?

This lesson will use a close reading of the Declaration of Independence to explore the American colonists’ reasons for separating from Great Britain. By the conclusion of the lesson, student will understand the role of the Declaration in encouraging support for American Independence, and in laying the groundwork for a new system of government and individual rights.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10

Grade 6 “When in the Course of Human Events:” Introducing the Declaration of Independence

This lesson will use a close reading of the Declaration of Independence to explore the American colonists’ reasons for separating from Great Britain. By the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to identify the specific arguments made for Independence. Students will assess the objectives of the Declaration and identify if and how the drafters may have fallen short of some of their stated goals.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6

Understanding the Declaration of Independence

This lesson examines the Declaration of Independence and the key ideas behind it. Students read the second paragraph of the Declaration and select the most compelling ideas in it. Then, working in small groups, students create public service announcements to demonstrate their understanding of key ideas expressed in the document and explain why they think these ideas are important today.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Forward to the Future: The Declaration of Independence in Our Lives

Essential Question: How are the ideas from the Declaration of Independence connected to our government today?

In this lesson, developed in collaboration with the National Archives, students will work through stations, considering various primary documents, in order to answer the essential question.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Constitution of the United States with Index and the Declaration of Independence, Pocket Edition

This is the 25th pocket edition of the complete text of two core documents of American democracy, the Constitution of the United States (with amendments) and the Declaration of Independence. The resolution calling for the ratification of Constitutional Convention is also included. A topical index to the Constitution is provided. (House Document 112-29, 2012)

  • Resource Type: Books, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Lesson on the Declaration of Independence

With this teacher-created lesson plan, students will be able to: understand the meaning and central ideas of the Declaration of Independence; cite textual evidence to analyze this primary source; and analyze the structure of the document. Common Core-aligned.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 11, 12

“All Men and Women Are Created Equal”: The Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention (1848)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) and Lucretia Mott (1793–1880), American activists for abolition of slavery and early activists for women’s rights, convened the first major conference on women’s issues in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. Students will be able to: understand the meaning and central ideas of the Declaration of Sentiments; cite textual evidence to analyze these primary sources; and compare and contrast the meaning and structure of the documents.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 11, 12

The Declaration of Independence: From Rough Draft to Proclamation

Students will analyze an unidentified historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why. After the document is identified as Thomas Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence, students will compare its text to that of the final document adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776 and discuss the significance of differences in wording.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12