Fun Hands-on Activities for Teaching the Revolutionary War

Paul Revere warned residents in the American colonies in 1775, at the start of the Revolutionary War.

Trying to teach active students facts and figures about the Revolutionary War may elicit a yawn and a bored look. As with most learning, students learn more when they become involved with projects that force them to think, create and share with others. Bring the American Revolutionary War to life for students with a variety of interactive activities.

1 Create a Puzzle

Divide the students into groups of three or four each. Have the groups read the information they are to learn together. Explain you want each group to create a puzzle about some aspect of the information that will test other students' grasp of the information. Explain types of puzzles they can create: those that match an object on one side to something on the other or a puzzle that involves filling in the blank. They can have classmates put a quotation into the right order, or they can create some other puzzle form. The students will learn the material as they prepare the puzzles for the rest of the class.

2 Tell a Story

Assign each student an important person who lived during the Revolutionary War. While George Washington is very important, also assign persons such as Washington's wife or Henry Know. Have the students research information about the person assigned. Ask them to write and then share the story of the person's involvement and importance to the War effort with the rest of the class. You can also assign this as a group project by having students write and act out a short skit or play.

3 Make a Map

Divide the class into groups. Provide poster board for each group. Assign each a site of an important battle or other critical point of the Revolutionary War. Ask students to research what happened and to create a visual representation of what happened at each place with markers or with downloaded or copied illustrations. Make sure each map has a bold title at the top explaining what the map represents. Then ask students to explain their maps to the rest of the class.

4 Timeline Bulletin Board

Assign a project in which students create a timeline for the Revolutionary War. Include laws and taxes that led up to the war, first and decisive battles, critical decisions by both sides, and other important historical events. The timeline should also include pictures at points along the timeline. Since your bulletin board probably isn't wide enough for one long timeline, start the timeline, written or printed on two inch wide strips of paper, toward the top under the title “What Led Up to the War.” Further down, continue the timeline under the title “The War,” with the last timeline strip toward the bottom under the title “After the War.”

5 Write a Newspaper

Assign students different stories to write about the war. Give them a set time period, such as right after the battles at Lexington and Concord. The students can write about what happened, feature stories about primary American figures of the war, obituaries of those who died, and even stories from the British point of view. Using a word processing program, instruct students to put their stories together in newspaper format, print it out, and distribute copies to the class.

Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.