What really happened at the Battle of Lexington?  In this lesson, students practice sourcing, corroboration, and contextualization as they weigh competing accounts of who fired the first shots of the Revolutionary War.

[Lesson Plan, PowerPoint, and Original Documents updated 6/13/16.]


The first 15-20 minutes of this film has a good discussion of the events leading up to Lexington. It also includes an historian that throws out an hypothesis as to who fired first without supporting evidence. Start it at the convening of the Continental Congress starting about 4.5 minutes into it:
After showing them the title of the Sandham painting ("The Birth of Liberty"), my 11th graders had a really rich discussion about propaganda in American politics and culture--they really enjoyed thinking about the importance of sourcing the images and articles to which they are exposed. Great lesson, as always.
Just did this lesson, and like all of the previous ones I have used, it went great. My eighth graders have become excellent at analyzing and making connections among primary documents. I feel like my students are leaving my classroom with more than content about history, but also useful skills.
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