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6-8 > U.S. History
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: U.S. History Duration: One class period
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Objectives | Materials | Procedures | Adaptations | Discussion Questions | Evaluation | Extensions | Suggested Readings | Links | Vocabulary | Academic Standards | Credit
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Objectives
 



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The South Regained & A Harvest of Victory -- The Revolutionary War 5-Pack




Students will understand the following:
1. The United States began to recognize the wounded as deserving of commendation toward the end of the American Revolution.
2. The Purple Heart is different from other military medals.
Materials

For this lesson, you will need:
Access to the Internet
Procedures

1. The United States is, relatively speaking, a young country, but it does have traditions that go back to its beginning. Since the siege of Yorktown at the end of the Revolutionary War, Americans wounded in action have received the medal known as the Purple Heart. Explain that this project will help students appreciate the award and those who have received it.
2. Point students toward the following two Web sites to learn more about the Purple Heart: the Military Order of the Purple Heart atpurpleheartand Purple Heart atamerical.
3. Tell students that they are to use the information at those sites—or other sources—to answer the following questions:
  1. Who created the Purple Heart award? (George Washington)
  2. What was the original name of the Purple Heart? (the Badge of Military Merit)
  3. Who were the first recipients of the Purple Heart, and when did they receive their awards? (Sgts. Elijah Churchill and William Brown received their awards on May 3, 1783. Sgt. Daniel Bissell Jr. received his award on June 10, 1783.)
  4. Who awards the Purple Heart, and who is eligible to receive it? (The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to anyone who has been wounded or killed while serving in any capacity with one of the U.S. armed services.)
  5. How does the Purple Heart differ from all other military decorations? (It differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not “recommended” for the Purple Heart. A person is entitled to receive it upon meeting specific criteria.)
  6. What is the difference between the original design of the Purple Heart and the current award? (The current medal, designed by Elizabeth Will, has a profile of George Washington where a sprig had appeared on the original.)
  7. The original award was established on August 7, 1782. What words accompanied the event, and what do they mean? (George Washington wrote in his orderly book on August 7, 1782, “The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus open to all. This order is also to have retrospect to the earliest stages of the war, and to be considered a permanent one.” These words may suggest that a wound is a badge of honor and must be recognized as such.)
4. Give students an opportunity to relate personal stories of friends or family members who have received one or more Purple Hearts. Can students find out and report to the class on how those people felt upon receiving the Purple Heart? What have the recipients done with the medal itself? What other questions do students in the class have for recipients of the Purple Heart?
5. Encourage students to design their own awards for other forms of meritorious military service. Remind them to name their awards, to draw detailed medal designs, and to compose the words that establish the criterion for receiving each award.
6. Let students arrange their award proposals—text and visuals—on a bulletin board.
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Adaptations

This lesson does currently have an adaptation.
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Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the difference between mutiny and treason. Why does the narrator say that "these rebels were mutineers, not traitors"? Compare the punishments given to the individuals found guilty of each. Consider the degree to which mutiny and treason can have an impact on the outcome of any war.
2. When asked about what they would do with Benedict Arnold if they caught him, the Virginians are said to have responded that they would cut off his left leg, which had been wounded at Quebec and Saratoga, and bury it with full military honors. The rest of him, they said, they would hang. Discuss this reaction to Benedict Arnold and the behaviors which may have precipitated it. Evaluate the extent to which Benedict Arnold may have been a contributor to both sides during the American Revolution.
3. First impressions are important. Or are they? George Washington, with his statuesque build and imposing personality, made a good one. Nathanael Greene, with his stocky appearance and a limp, did not. Yet both were effective leaders. To what extent do appearances impact leadership? Discuss the leaders of the Revolution with respect to the personal qualities they exemplified and the actions they were able to inspire in others.
4. Nathanael Greene, who became the commander of the Southern army, had renounced the pacifism of his Quaker beliefs to fight for the Revolution. The need to renounce a belief to take up a cause creates internal conflict. Discuss the dilemma Greene must have faced in doing this. Consider other historical and personal situations where an internal conflict arises from an external one.
5. Cornwallis won a lot of battles but lost the war, giving credence to the admonition to choose your battles carefully. Discuss how it was possible for Greene to lose many battles but win the war. Consider how choosing your battles can be an important lesson in life.
6. Lord Cornwallis did not attend the surrender ceremonies at Yorktown because he was too humiliated. Discuss this event, which had Cornwallis' second in command, Brigadier General Charles O'Hara, surrendering the sword to Benjamin Lincoln, the general who had been humiliated at Charleston. Lincoln had been asked to receive the sword of surrender by George Washington, who had been deferred to by the French general, Rochambeau. Describe what might be considered appropriate behaviors for the losing side in a cause. Then analyze the behavior of the British troops and their leader against these standards.
7. Investigate the world war the British were fighting. Discuss the statement that "eight years after the war began on Lexington Green, the final shot of the American Revolution was fired 11,000 miles away at Tugawar, India." What does this mean, and to what extent do you find it to be accurate?
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Evaluation

You can evaluate students’ written responses using the following three-point rubric:
Three points:complete and accurate answers to the seven questions; major contribution to the discussion about friends and relatives; detailed drawing and well-worded citation
 
Two points:complete and mostly accurate answers to the seven questions; minor contribution to the discussion about friends and relatives; acceptable drawing and citation
 
One point:incomplete and inaccurate answers to the seven questions; no contribution to the discussion about friends and relatives; inadequate drawing and citation
 
You can have students contribute to the assessment rubric by determining a minimum length for the citation.
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Extensions

Course of Action
During the American Revolution, some of the strategies practiced by military commanders on both sides were questionable. When Greene split his army, it appeared foolhardy. When Morgan backed his troops up against the Broad River, defeat seemed imminent. Morgan also formed his men in three lines with the militia in the middle. Cornwallis burned his own equipment and commanded his men to fire over the heads of his troops knowing that some would be lost. Lead a class discussion on both the psychological and tactical requirements of effective military strategies. Ask students to analyze the ways in which leaders of the American Revolution employed strategies. Discuss and debate alternatives to the decisions made by Greene, Morgan, and Cornwallis.

Who’s Who in the American Revolution?
What happened to the people and personalities involved in the American Revolution after the surrender at Yorktown? Ask students to fill in the columns below.
Name Born Died Role in Revolution After the Revolution
James Adams        
Benedict Arnold        
Lord Cornwallis        
Benjamin Franklin        
George III        
Nathanael Greene        
Thomas Jefferson        
Henry Knox        
Marquis de Lafayette        
Joseph Plumb Martin        
Thomas Paine        
George Washington        
  

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Suggested Readings

Colonial and Revolution Songbook
Keith & Rusty McNeil, WEM Records, 1996
Distinct regional references are apparent in this compilation of songs of America from the colonial and Revolutionary periods. Melodies with chord symbols are accompanied by historical annotations of the songs' origins and references. Some songs included are: "Hoosier," "Death of General Wolfe," "Free America," "Yankee Doodle," "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier," and "Hunters of Kentucky."

From Colonies to Country
Joy Hakim, Oxford University Press, 1993
This highly recommended work, especially geared for grades 7-9 but also suitable and enjoyable for older audiences, offers excellent illustrations to supplement the narrative text. The illustrations are drawn from portraits and cartoons of the period; they and the text expertly intertwine social and political history of the Revolutionary era (including the pre-Revolutionary era) through the Constitutional Convention.

"Yorktown, Virginia Campaign" in The American Revolution 1775-1783: An Encyclopedia, Volume II
Garland Publishing Company, 1993
This text provides a detailed description of the military campaign that would not be too overwhelming for senior or junior high school readers. It offers profiles of Generals Clinton and Cornwallis, the roles of General Comte de Rochambeau and Washington, and the sequence of the "prolonged campaign that depended on so many variables fitting together at precisely the right time in the right way at the right place."

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Links

From Revolution to Reconstruction: A Hypertext on American History
Battles of the American Revolutionary War.

Military History: American Revolution 1775 -1783
Another source for military history, it includes details about the battles, maps, and projects.

Rare Map Collection—Revolutionary America
Want to see the battlefields as the generals and soldiers saw them? Proceed to this site to display the maps they used. It may take some time if you have a slow modem, but the maps are authentic.

The Flag of the United States
When the war ended, the new flag prevailed. It represented the beginning of the new nation. Learn more about its history here, including flag etiquette and links to other flag-related sites.

Battles of the American Revolutionary War
Another source for military history, it includes details about the battles, maps, and projects.

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Vocabulary

Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    mutiny
Definition:Concerted revolt against discipline or a superior officer.
Context:As night fell in Morristown, New Jersey, 1500 soldiers began the mutiny by leaving camp against orders.

speaker    Continentals
Definition:An American soldier of the Revolution in the Continental army.
Context:The Continentals, who comprised Washington's regular army, fought side by side with the militia.

speaker    loyalist
Definition:One who is or remains loyal especially to a political cause, party, government, or sovereign.
Context:The loyalists, or those Americans who had remained faithful to England, were eventually exiled following the end of the American Revolution.

speaker    militia
Definition:A body of citizens organized for military service.
Context:Although not part of Washington's regular army, the militia, composed of able-bodied males, had been called to serve during this time of crisis.

speaker    treason
Definition:The offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family.
Context:Benedict Arnold, by helping England in the war and then eventually changing sides, was guilty of treason against the United States.

speaker    strategy
Definition:The science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions.
Context:As Nathanael Greene and Daniel Morgan planned their battles and troop movements, they used some unusual strategy.

speaker    siege
Definition:A military blockade of a city or fortified place to compel it to surrender.
Context:The battle at Yorktown was the largest siege that had ever occurred on American soil at the time, and the persistent attack waged there made victory possible.

speaker    redoubt
Definition:A small, usually temporary, enclosed defensive work.
Context:Washington stormed the protected positions known as redoubts nine and ten during the night, which set the stage for Cornwallis' ultimate surrender at Yorktown.

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Standards

This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
 
Grade level:6-8, 9-12
Subject area:civics
Standard:
Understands the character of American political and social conflict and factors that tend to prevent or lower its intensity.
Benchmarks:
Knows sources of political conflict that have arisen in the United States historically as well as in the present.

Understands issues that involve conflicts among fundamental values and principles such as the conflict between liberty and authority.

Grade level:6-8, 9-12
Subject area:geography
Standard:
Understands how geography is used to interpret the past.
Benchmarks:
Knows how physical and human geographic factors have influenced major historic events and movements.

Understands the ways in which physical and human features have influenced the evolution of significant historic events and movements.

Grade level:6-8, 9-12
Subject area:geography
Standard:
Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment.
Benchmarks:
Knows the spatial dynamics of various contemporary and historical events.

Grade level:6-8, 9-12
Subject area:historical understanding
Standard:
Understands the historical perspective.
Benchmarks:
Analyzes the effects specific decisions had on history and studies how things might have been different in the absence of those decisions.

Uses historical maps to understand the relationship between historical events and geography.

Grade level:6-8, 9-12
Subject area:U.S. history
Standard:
Understands the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in shaping the revolutionary movement, and reasons for the American victory.
Benchmarks:
Understands the strategic elements of the Revolutionary War.

Understands the major political and strategic factors that led to the American victory in the Revolutionary War.

Understands the social and economic impact of the Revolutionary War.

Understands contributions of European nations during the American Revolution and how their involvement influenced the outcome and aftermath.

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Credit

Tish Raff, administrator, Sequoyah Elementary School, Derwood, Maryland.
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