GRADE 6

Lesson 1: Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Essential Question:
What role does compromise play in constructing state and federal government roles?
Objective:
Students will be able to discuss the reasons colonists were dissatisfied with the Articles of
Confederation.
Standards:
USI.1
The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible
citizenship, including the ability to
b) make connections between the past and the present;
c) sequence events in United States history from pre-Columbian times to 1865;
d) interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives;
USI.7
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by
a) identifying the weaknesses of the government established by the Articles of
Confederation
ENG 6.1
The student will participate in and contribute to small group activities
a) Communicate as a leader and contributor
MATH 6.14
The student, given a problem situation, will
b) draw conclusions and make predictions, using circle graphs; and
c) compare and contrast graphs that present information from the same data set.
VISUAL ARTS 6.18
The student will describe the manner in which the beliefs and values of a viewer may influence
ideas and feelings about works of art.

Materials:
Teacher:
 SmartBoard
 Laptop
 “Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution”
 Articles of Confederation PowerPoint (FCPS eCART)

Student:
 Textbook pg. 296
 Pencil
 Vocabulary sheet
GRADE 6
 Colored pencils
 Poster paper
 Scaffolded notes (if applicable)

Learning Procedures:
LINK/HOOK:
 What is the state of the United States after the Revolutionary War?
 Discuss relationship with Great Britain and why the Continental Congress may have
drafted the Articles of Confederation the way they did.
 How are the colonists feeling at this time? Turn and talk with a friend. Share whole
group.
 Read the first few pages of “Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution” to set the stage.
ENGAGE/EDUCATE:
 Use PowerPoint to visually show key concepts.
 Discuss whole group as well.
 Under the Articles of Confederation:
o There was a weak national government
 Discuss why colonists may have been afraid of a strong national
government, and opted for one that was weaker (previous relationship
with Great Britain).
o Congress had no power to tax or regulate commerce among the states
 Again, why would colonists have opted for this? (Intense taxing that led
to Revolutionary War was extremely unappealing at this time).
o There was no national common currency
 Why would this be a problem? (Commerce among states, national unity,
foreign trade). [Logical-Mathematical]
o Each state had one vote regardless of its size
 Perspective
o There were no executive or judicial branches
 What do you know about separation and balance of powers?
ACTIVITY:
 With a partner, have students refer back to their textbook and find additional
information about America during this time. What other factors made colonists
dissatisfied? (Veterans of the war could not be compensated because the national
government could raise no money through taxes, etc).
 Then, make a campaign poster for America’s next leader. It can be a single person or a
group. Emphasize the perspective of the leader, and their relationship with the other
people in the country. [Visual-Spatial, Interpersonal, Linguistic]
GRADE 6
 Be sure to demonstrate what they stand for, how they will take care of their people, and
what the government might look like on a state and national level (where is the
power?).
SUMMARIZE/REFLECT/NEXT STEPS:
 Review reasons for dissatisfaction.
 Discuss with your table groups -- given the colonists dissatisfaction, what do you think
will happen next?
 What do you propose a good plan to be?
 Next time we will look at how the colonists began forming a solution for their problems.
Extension:
 Create an illustrated timeline of America between 1776 and 1783.
 Show the key events related to the government, and the key individuals as well.
 Write a brief prediction of how you believe these events will influence the next 100
years. [Logical-Mathematical]
 Discuss your thoughts with a partner. [Interpersonal]
Assessment:
Formative: Use political posters to formatively assess students’ understanding of reasons for
dissatisfaction. Take anecdotal notes during group discussion and partner work, noting areas
where students may need additional support, or provide more knowledge to promote deeper
understanding.
Differentiation:
ELL Students: Provide key information visually on the SmartBoard, as well as orally through
class discussion. Give scaffolded notes for important information. Opportunities to discuss ideas
as well as write/draw.
Low-Readiness: Circulate during activity providing one-on-one support as needed. Give
students choice in partner work so they are supported and encouraged by their peers.
High-Readiness: Provide extension activities as appropriate. Extensions offer students a way to
go deeper with their thinking, looking not only at facts, but at cause and effect, and making
logical predictions.
Special Education: Not applicable for this class, but can make individual accommodations where
necessary. Option for one-on-one help during individual work, as well as scaffolded notes, and
oral assessment.
Multiple Intelligences addressed throughout.

GRADE 6