How To Have a Meaningful 4th Of July Celebration

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Fourth of July:

Polls reveal that Americans know surprisingly little about their country's history. Education World remembers --- and celebrates America's struggle for independence with 13 patriotic activities, one for each of the original colonies! 

See additional lesson ideas on our special Fourth of July Holiday page.

  • In a recent Constitution Poll commissioned by the National Constitution Center, fewer than 50 percent of the respondents knew how many U.S. Senators there are; only 6 percent could name the four rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; and 84 percent thought the Constitution states that "all men are equal."
  • An American History quiz among 1000 adults in the United States revealed that two-thirds of respondents didn't know that the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia and one-third didn't know that the Fourth of July is celebrated to mark the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
As the nation prepares to celebrate another July 4th, Education World has searched the Web for sites that will help teachers plan some fascinating -- and memorable -- lessons around the day and documents that shaped our country. 


First, get in the mood at Happy Birthday America (Independence Day on the Net). Here you'll find "The Story of America's Independence," the text of the Declaration of Independence, and even a recipe for "Mom's Apple Pie" set to patriotic music and surrounded by fireworks displays.
Then, ignite your students' interest with the following activities:
History -- make a timeline. Have students explore To Form a More Perfect Union to learn about the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the writing of the Constitution. Then ask them to create a timeline of the most important events.
Geography -- make a map. Invite students to go to and witness the founding of our nation via a virtual tour of Philadelphia.
Language -- create a class book. Provide each student with the name of one or more delegates to the Constitutional Convention and ask them to explore classroom, library, and online resources to find information about their assigned delegates. Then have students write brief biographies about the delegates and combine the biographies into a book. Repeat the above activity for the signers of the Declaration.
Technology -- create a Web page. Have students read U.S. History Timeline, a description of a project created by 5th grade students in Oregon. Challenge your students to create their own Web pages on a topic related to the Revolutionary period.
American government -- take a quiz. Invite students to take a Declaration of Independence Quiz. (Or try alternate quiz 1 or alternate quiz 2.)
Reading for meaning -- write a constitution. Have students study the U.S. Constitution atThe Constitution of the United States of America and then write their own.
Play a game. Have fun with the ecard, puzzles, and more at Kids' Turn Central: Independence Day.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2008 Education World

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