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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

Many different groups fought at the Battle of Bennington, for many different reasons. By their actions, in this tiny valley near the frontier in northern New York, they helped determine whether the American colonies would become an independent nation. The following activities will help students evaluate factors contributing to the outcome of the battle, understand historical documents, and learn about significant events in their community.

Activity 1: The People, the Cause, the Land, the Strategy
Now that students have learned the outcome of the Battle of Bennington, ask them to write a brief evaluation of the people involved, their behaviors, and the impact. Then divide the class into four groups. Assign each group one factor that helped determine the outcome of the battle: the people and their leadership, their motivation for fighting, the physical characteristics of the site, or the strategies used. Hold a debate, with each group using evidence from the lesson to build a case for their particular factor being the one that won the battle. Have the class vote to determine the most convincing presentation.

Activity 2: Historical Language and Images
Historical documents often contain unfamiliar language. In some instances, it may be essential for understanding to stop and research the exact meaning of a word. Ask students to make a list of unfamiliar expressions in this lesson. For example, in Reading 2, John Langdon mentions "plate." Did students know what that was? Were they able to get an idea from the context and continue reading? Make a list of expressions the students did not understand. Assign different students a word or group of words to research. Then have them complete the list on the board by writing in the definitions of the unfamiliar words. Discuss with the class whether knowing exactly what a historical document meant made a difference in their understanding the document.

Activity 3: Moments of Heroism
Ask students to survey older members of the community to identify events in the community's past that filled residents with pride. What were the issues? Who participated? Were the events controversial or combative? How were the issues decided? Is there any public recognition of the events--monuments, public sculptures, or paintings in a public building? Ask students to make a rough sketch that reflects a particular event and write a short narrative to accompany the sketch. Students should decide if their sketch and description is intended to be historically accurate, or used to depict the emotional significance of the event to the community--a moment of heroism for example. Drawings could be displayed as an "art gallery" of community history.



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