Independence Day Lesson Plans & Resources

On July 4 each year, the United States celebrates Independence Day. This day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in which citizens of the thirteen American colonies announced their break from the British Empire and their intention to form a new nation: the United States of America. This Share My Lesson collection provides educators with free preK-12 lesson plans, activities, and materials to use to teach their students about Independence Day.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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

The Meaning of Independence Day

What is the legacy of the Declaration of Independence and its self-evident truths of equal and unalienable rights? Our ebook, “The Meaning of Independence Day,” explores the ideas behind the American Founding and their significance for our present personal freedoms and national flourishing. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Includes readings by Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, and more.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

What Does July 4th Mean to You?

July 4th brings to mind fireworks, parades, and picnics but what are we celebrating when we remember the signing of the Declaration of Independence? What does July 4th mean to you? This lesson plan lets students make connections between the birthday of America and its significance in today’s world.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 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

Fourth of July: Grades 3-5

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Fourth of July show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they encourage students to explore the history and meaning of the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5

Fourth of July: Grades 6-8

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Fourth of July show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they encourage students to explore the history and meaning of the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Fourth of July: Grades 9-12

This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Fourth of July show, which is available as part of themed museum packages for groups and the Traveling History & Civics Program for schools.

Together, they encourage students to explore the history and meaning of the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day.

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

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