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Learning about Independence Day, Grades K-5

Lessons & Activities, Background Reading, Printables, and More

Found In: arts, social studies, preK-2, 3-5

Learn about the men and ideas that influenced the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence and how the 4th of July has been celebrated over the years with these lessons, activities, and other resources.

Lesson Plans & Activities

Lesson Plans

America the Beautiful": Using Music and Art to Develop Vocabulary
Students in grades K-2 use photographs, illustrations, and descriptive language to create a mural shaped like the United States. This lesson can be adapted for any patriotic holiday.

Myth and Truth: Independence Day
Students in grades 3-5 research common myths about Independence Day and the signing of the Declaration of Independence to determine their truth and present their findings to the class.

It's Independence Day! Or is it?
Students in grades 3-12 explore all the dates during the summer of 1776 that are associated with the Declaration of Independence and consider why there are so many different dates and why we celebrate the nation's birthday on July 4.

Understanding the Declaration of Independence
Students in grade 4 examine the reasons why the colonies went to war with England and develop an understanding of the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

Activities

Make a 4th of July Coloring Book
Download free printable 4th of July coloring pages to make a coloring book.

Background Resources

Creating the Declaration of Independence (Library of Congress)
A collection of 136 documents, artifacts, and interactives.

Declaration of Independence (National Archives and Records Administration)
Read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration and documents that inspired it, view an original copy, and identify the signers in Barry Faulkner’s 1936 mural.

Fourth of July Celebrations Database (American University)
Discover how the 4th has been celebrated over the years and different parts of the country.

Fourth of July is Independence Day (USA.gov)
Fun facts, flag history, patriotic songs, and more.

4th of July lessons: Protest, Revolution, and Independence (EDSITEment)
Lessons for grades 3-12 covering African Americans in the revolution and beyond, Colonial protests, Declaration of Independence, founding fathers, religion, and the Revolutionary War.

Fourth of July Orations Collection
The collection contains published pamphlets of addresses made on Independence Day from 1791-1925 in New England states, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as Canada, France, Italy, and Hawaii before statehood.

Quizzes

Printables

Books & Video

Books

  • The Fourth of July Story
    By Alice Dalgliesh and Marie Nonnast
    Aladdin (June 1, 1995)
  • Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols
    By James Cross Giblin and Ursala Arndt
    Clarion Books (April 23, 2001)
  • The Signers: The 56 Stories behind the Declaration of Independence
    By Dennis Brindell Fradin and Michael McCurdy
    Walker Books for Young Readers (January 1, 2003)
  • The Signers of the Declaration of Independence
    By Robert Ferris and Richard Morris
    Interpretive Publications (June 1982)

Video

  • July 4th (The History Channel)
    12 brief videos and 4 photo galleries.
  • 1776 The Musical
    Excerpts from the 1972 film version of the musical.

 

last updated: May 23, 2014

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Learning about Independence Day

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