Lesson Plan

Tactics in the Battle of Kings Mountain

Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6.RI.1, 6.RI.2, 6.RI.3, 6.RI.4, 6.RI.10, 7.RI.1, 7.RI.2, 7.RI.3, 7.RI.4, 7.RI.10, 8.RI.1, 8.RI.2, 8.RI.3, 8.RI.4, 8.RI.10
State Standards:
South Carolina State Standard 8-2.5: Summarize the role of South Carolinians in the course of the American Revolution, including the use of partisan warfare and the battles of Charleston, Camden, Cowpens, Kings Mountain and Eutaw Springs.
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.


*How did the Kings Mountain area terrain and settlements effect the tactics in the Battle of Kings Mountain?
*How were the tactics used at the Battle of Kings Mountain similar and different than other battles in the American Revolution?
*How were the tactics used by loyalists and patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain similar and different?


Thomas Jefferson called it "The turn of the tide of success." The battle of Kings Mountain, fought October 7th, 1780, was an important American victory during the Revolutionary War. The battle was the first major patriot victory to occur after the British invasion of Charleston, SC in May 1780. 

Kings Mountain is a unique battle for several reasons. It was one of the few major battles of the war fought entirely between Americans: no British troops served here. In the South, many people were divided. When the war started, some fought for independence, others for loyalty to England.

Kings Mountain is also unique in that large numbers of riflemen fought here. Rifles were not used much by the armies. A rifle was a hunting weapon, used by families on the frontier. The American militia that fought here mainly used rifles; the Loyalist troops had mostly muskets.

The difference between a rifle and a musket is speed versus accuracy. A rifle is slow to load, but very accurate. Riflemen can hit a target at 200 or 300 yards. Yet the rifle can only be fired once a minute. A musket, with a smooth bore, is easy to load but inaccurate. Muskets have an accurate range of about 100 yards, but can be fired up to three times a minute.


*Make one copy per student of: Battle Tactics of Kings Mountain Reading, Venn Diagram, and Tactical Tips Newspaper Column 

*Decide whether students will be completing the Battle Tactics Column assessment independently or in pairs. 

*Materials for Students: pencil, two different color highlighters, optional computer access for additional research or typing column 


Students should read to gather information for the venn diagram.

Download Reading: Tactics at the Battle of Kings Mountain

Students should complete after reading the passage to organize similarities and differences between Loyalists and Patriots.

Download Battle Tactics Venn Diagram

Use during hook or preview to teach the structure of an advice column.

Download Example Two of Advice Column

Lesson Hook/Preview

*Explain to students: "Today they will be historical journalists, but not just any type of journalist. Today, they will be writing an advice column giving tactical advice to American Revolution soldiers. Tactics are the military strategies and plans used by armies or groups in a battle. Let's start by looking at two examples of advice columns and seeing how they are similar and different." 

*Hand out the two advice column examples. Ask students to make a list of ways the two columns are similar and the ways they are different. Ask students to share their list. Ask students which column they liked better and why. Ask if they have any ideas about what could have made these columns more interesting. Tell students that today they will be writing a historical battle tactice advice column and can use these columns as examples.

*Explain that the battle tactice advice column topic will be on the Battle of Kings Mountain. The battle of Kings Mountain was fought October 7th, 1780 and was an important American victory during the Revolutionary War. The battle was the first major patriot victory to occur after the British invasion of Charleston, SC in May 1780. 


1. Hand out a copy of the reading to each student. Tell the students that they will be reading the passage two times. The first time, they will read to understand the big ideas. Any detail or phrase that seems important, they will underline. Any words or phrases they don't understand, the students should circle. Give students 4-5 minutes to complete the reading independently.

2. Now, ask students to partner up. They should share what they think are the big ideas of the reading. Any words or phrases they circled, they should try and figure out together. If they are stuck, they should ask another group of students or the teacher. Share out as a group the big ideas of the passage and the difficult words or phrases. 

3. Now, ask the pairs of students to get out two different color highlighters. Tell the students that one color is to highlight similarities between battle tactics of Loyalists and Patriots and the other is to highlight differences. Give the students 4-6 minutes to complete this activity with their partners. 

4. Ask the partners to separate from each other and find a new partner to share findings with. If the new group member has different ideas or additional similarities and differences, it should be added. 

5. Hand out the Venn Diagram. Ask students to look back through the highlighted material and pick out the most imporant similarities and differences between the Loyalists and Patriot tactics that they think contributed to the Patriot Victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain. 

6. Give students the "Tactical Tips Newspaper Column" template. Tell students their audiance are soldiers and leaders in the American Revolution. They can choose to focus their audiance on just the Patriots, just the Loyalists, or both. Regardless of their audiance, they should include what to do and what not to do that they learned from all sides in the Battle of Kings Mountain.  

7. Once the newspaper columns are completed, "publish" the columns by putting them up in the classroom. As you continue studying the American Revolution, see if either side learned from the Battle of Kings Mountain and took the students' advice. Come back and read the columns at the end of your study of the American Revolution. Is there any advice they would add? 


*Bivouac - A temporary camp without tents or cover, used especially by soldiers or mountaineers.

*Buffer - A person or thing that prevents incompatible or antagonistic people or things from coming into contact with or harming each other.

*Monadnock - An isolated hill or ridge or erosion-resistant rock rising above a peneplain.

*Tactics - An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.

*Topography - The arrangement of the natural and artificial physical features of an area.

Assessment Materials

Tactical Tips Newspaper Column

Students should create a Revolutionary War battle tactics advice column independently or in pairs.

Tactical Tips Newspaper Column

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

*Teacher-planned pairs for each activity - start with heterogenous pairings after first reading of the text to ensure comprehension and then move to homogenous pairings to ensure all students are challenged. 

*Access to computers to use spell-check and grammar support during writing of the Tactical Tips Newspaper Column. 

*Annotated copy of the reading passage for students who need more academic vocabulary support with the text. 

Enrichment Activities

*Create a battle map of the Battle of Kings Mountain demonstrating the topography of the area, as well as each side's battle tactics 

*Create a complete newspaper including advertisements and information-based articles demonstrating understanding of other events taking place during this time period. 

*Create a response from soldiers on each side to their advice column.

Additional Resources

*Kings Mountain National Military Park: https://www.nps.gov/kimo/index.htm 

*This Day in History Battle of Kings Mountain: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-kings-mountain 

*Learn NC Battle for Kings Mountain: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-revolution/4268 

Related Lessons or Education Materials

"African Americans in the American Revolution" is a middle-school lesson with a focus on soldiers present at the Battle of Kings Mountain. 

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Last updated: May 18, 2018