The American Revolution Lesson Plans for Middle School!

american revolution curriculum & lesson plans for history teachers
American Revolution Lesson Plans for Middle School

When it comes to this pivotal time period in U.S. history, effective and easy-to-use American Revolution lesson plans should include the use of primary sources and secondary sources, Revolutionary War activities for small groups, video lessons, political cartoons, in addition to a slew of other common core aligned exercises!


This article will provide you with practical lesson plan ideas and resources to help your middle school students better understand and comprehend the causes, events, and significance of the American Revolution. Whether you're a seasoned social studies teacher or this is your first year of teaching, this article will provide you with valuable insights and strategies to make your American Revolution lessons more exciting and effective!


American Revolution Lesson Plans that are Compelling for your Students


In order for any lesson plans that are a part of an American Revolution unit to be compelling, that will make learning about this important time period for your students more exciting, that can be used for numerous class periods, each history lesson must incorporate the use of simple designs. As an example, colorful and immersive presentations that flow seamlessly from one slide to the next and are available in both PowerPoint and Google Slides formats.


The less I have to worry about lesson plans, the easier it is to engage my students and teach!


The reason for this is simple, the less stressed out I am about having to try and jumble together a bunch of random resources that have been created by a number of different teacher authors on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers, or having to try and squeeze out extra time out of an already crammed schedule to create my own resources, the better teacher I am to my students! And when it comes to teaching younger students (middle schoolers) all about the American Revolution, I've been able to put together lessons that make ample use of primary source documents and worksheets and exercises that encourage and promote historical analysis and critical thinking skills.


Screenshot of the Daily Outline I provide teachers with each of my lesson plan units (this screenshot is from my American Revolution Unit!)


Tips on how to effectively use lesson plans when teaching the American Revolution to middle schoolers:

  1. Interactive and hands-on activities: Engage students by incorporating interactive and hands-on activities into your lesson plans. For example, you could have students role-play historical figures, create timelines, or participate in debates on key issues related to the American Revolution!
  2. Technology: One of my favorite ways to break up the monotony of everyday class is by sharing with my students a short video from YouTube. There's a massive amount of informative and entertaining videos on YouTube on a wide range of American Revolution topics ranging from everything from say the Sugar Act to the Battle of Yorktown. Videos, and other forms of technology such as interactive simulations for example, help bring the events of the American Revolution to life for your students and help make the material more engaging and accessible for your students!
  3. Use primary source materials: Incorporate the use of primary source materials, such as letters, journal entries, and government documents, into your lessons to give students a firsthand look at what life was like during the American Revolution. This can help to make the events of the past more real and relevant to your students.
  4. Make connections to current events: Help students understand the relevance of the American Revolution by making connections to current events. For example, you could discuss how the ideas of liberty, freedom, and democracy that were central to the American Revolution continue to shape American society today.
  5. Encourage critical thinking: Encourage students to think critically about the events of the American Revolution by asking them to analyze different perspectives and evaluate the actions of key historical figures.
  6. Create opportunities for group work: Foster a sense of community and encourage collaboration by creating opportunities for group work in your lessons. For example, you could have students work together to create projects or present information to the class.


Major Events of the American Revolution that MUST be Covered with middle schoolers

For 6th to 8th graders learning about the American Revolution, it can be difficult to sort out what topics and/or events to cover and what what to leave out. For example, in 5th grade, students are still primarily learning the many various facts of the American Revolution and are typically being gradually more exposed to the causes and effects of the various important events and significant historical figure of the era. Whereas, when it comes to teaching high school students about the American Revolution, you want to go deep into the relationship between the colonists of Colonial America and Great Britain (specifically, King George), not just what the "surface-level" relationship was like.


So, how do you know what and how deep to go when it comes to teaching middle schoolers about the American Revolution?!


In my experience, I've gotten the best results from middle school students when I focus on a few key events that had a significant impact on the outcome of the war, specifically, these events:

  • The Boston Massacre (1770) - This famous confrontation between British soldiers and American colonists in the streets of Boston was an important catalyst for the American Revolution, as it sparked widespread outrage and anger among colonists who felt that the British soldiers had used excessive force against American citizens. This event is also important because it can help highlight to your students the significant role of propaganda and how both sides used the event to their advantage, as well as the differing interpretations of what actually happened that day.


  • The Boston Tea Party (1773) - An integral and one of the most famous events of the American Revolution, the Boston Tea Party was a protest against British taxes on tea and other goods, and is considered one of the first acts of rebellion by the American colonies. The Boston Tea Party symbolizes the growing discontent among colonists with British rule and helps to set the stage for the American Revolution.


Bell Ringer that kicks off one of my lesson's presentations!


  • The Declaration of Independence (1776) - This document, written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Continental Congress, declared the independence of the 13 American colonies from British rule. The Declaration of Independence is an important symbol of American independence and a cornerstone of American democracy.


  • The Battle of Saratoga (1777) - This battle was a major turning point in the American Revolution, as American forces, led by General Horatio Gates, defeated the British army. The victory at Saratoga helped to boost American morale and increase support for the American cause both domestically and abroad.


  • Winter at Valley Forge (1777-1778) - Site of a winter encampment for the Continental Army during the American Revolution, the winter at Valley Forge was a difficult one, as soldiers suffered from harsh conditions, including hunger, disease, and exposure to the elements. However, the soldiers time spent at Valley Forge helped to strengthen their resolve and proficiency as soldiers as they used the time there to receive valuable training from Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian military officer, which made the Continental Army a stronger, more formidable and cohesive military force.


  • The Battle of Yorktown (1781) - This battle marked the end of major fighting in the American Revolution, as American and French forces, led by George Washington, defeated a British army under the command of General Cornwallis. The victory at Yorktown effectively ended British military operations in North America and led to the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the war and recognized American independence.


These events are important to include in your lesson plans because they help students understand the causes and consequences of the American Revolution and the key players and actions that shaped the outcome of the war!


From the political, economic, and military aspects of the American Revolution, by focusing on these key events and the historical figures associated with them, you can provide students with a deeper understanding of the American Revolution and its lasting impact on the history of the United States!


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If you're thinking there's no way I have time to create all of those resources or scour sites like Teachers pay Teachers every week to patch together a bunch of different resources from a bunch of different teacher authors - I HEAR YOU!!


I've been in your shoes and that's why I've built this website and created curriculum bundles exclusively for teachers like YOU. I've put my years of experience in the classroom and in various administrative roles, as well as my LOVE for ALL things history-related, so that I could proudly offer high-quality, easy-to-use, affordable and PROVEN history curriculum bundles.



  • Spending more time on teaching and less on lesson plans

  • More time on nights and weekends to share with friends and loved ones

  • No longer endlessly searching for amazing lesson plans and resources



Have a look at my curriculum bundles HERE!


Thanks for reading!

-Jillian (a.k.a. the "Lesson Plan Guru")
















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