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https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/events-leading-to-the-american-revolution/signing-of-the-declaration-of-independence

Activity Overview


For this activity, students will analyze and explain the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This activity is a good way to wrap up the causes and effects of events leading up to the American Revolution. Although it does take place in the midst of the revolution, it encapsulates the major ideas, problems, and tensions between colonists and the British while also providing context for how the American colonies finally and fully separated from Britain. The activity will also allow students to analyze a major primary source, the Declaration of Independence!

Students will complete a 5Ws analysis (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) to explain and break down the important details of the Declaration of Independence. This will provide a clear context of what the document means, the basics of its signing, and what the document's key messages are. It allows students to be creative when making their storyboards because they can design what they believe the signing of this major American document looked like.


Extended Activity

Have students read and analyze 5-10 specific grievances located within the Declaration of Independence. Give them the actual text, but then have them break it down into their own words. First, they should examine words they see as most important to the document's key messages. Then, have them put the text into their own ‘modern-day' words on a storyboard with a visualization. This will allow the teacher to see who understands the messages, and to get a sense of what vocabulary the students know and understand.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/11-12/1] Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/11-12/2] Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/11-12/9] Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard outlining the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why) for the Declaration of Independence.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title of each cell, ask one of the 5 Ws.
  3. In the description boxes, answer the question.
  4. Create an illustration that demonstrates or explains each of the 5 Ws using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


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