You are on page 1of 6

Working with Texts Lesson Plan Format

Emma Kowal
What caused Shays Rebellion? Why was it so significant?
Length of Lesson: 75 minutes
Overview: In this lesson, students will look at Shays Rebellion and how the Articles
of Confederation led up to this event by using three different resources. We will then
discuss why the rebellion was so significant and how it led the government to create
the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention.
Students will list the problems America faced under the Articles of
Confederation. (5-U3.3.2)
Students will describe why the Constitutional Convention came together and
why they needed to create the constitution. (5 U3.3.3)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown
and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing
meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference
materials, as appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of
standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the
development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and
D2. His.6.3-5. Describe how peoples perspectives shaped the historical
sources they created.
D2.His,10.3-5. Compare information provided by different historical sources
about the past.
D2.His.11.3-5. Infer the intended audience and purpose of a historical source
from information within the source itself.
Anticipated student conceptions or challenges to understanding: Students
may have previous misconceptions or gaps in understanding from the previous
lesson that introduced the unit with the Articles of Confederation simulation to
demonstrate its weaknesses. I plan to address these by providing the students with
more information about the American people and how the Articles of Confederation
impacted them on a personal level. This will help them to picture the weaknesses
beyond the national and state levels and to understand that the lives of Americans in
the post-war America were filled with complications. The texts that were chosen for
this lesson will help paint a picture in the minds of the students from personal
accounts about Shays Rebellion and how it impacted the country as a whole.
Students may struggle to interpret the documents, so they will need to be
appropriately scaffolded and discussed as a class in addition to small groups.

Letter from Major General Shepard about the Springfield Arsenal

Attack (copy for each student)
Address to the People, Daniel Gray (copy for each student)
Springfield Arsenal Battle Image (copy for each student)
PowerPoint Document

Assessment: Student understanding will be assessed by having them do a 3 W

activity, where students will write out what? So what? And Now what? They will
explain first what they learned in class today (what?), the relevance and importance
of what they learned (so what?), and finally how they think that this lesson fits into
what they have been learning and where they think we are headed next (now what?).
These will then be collected to be reviewed by the teacher to assess the
understanding of the lesson.
Instructional Sequence:
1. The lesson will first be introduced by discussing the previous lesson about the
Articles of Confederation and the simulation that they did to better understand
the problems that the Articles of Confederation had on a larger level between
the states. Ask the students to provide some of the weaknesses that they
learned were within the Articles of Confederation. Use slide 2 of the PowerPoint
document. (5 minutes)
2. Slide 3/4 of the PP document. Discuss on a more individual level how the
Articles of Confederation affected the people of the United States in the postwar times. (5 minutes)
3. The students will next learn about the farmers specifically and their struggles
to survive in the post-war country. High taxes left them unable to keep their
farms, use slide 3/ 4 of the PP document. (5 minutes)
4. Introduce Shays Rebellion by discussing that all of the issues that the
American people were having, especially the farmers, led up to the rebellion
because they felt there was nothing left for them to do. What was Shays
Rebellion? Slide 5 of the PP document. (5 minutes)
5. Have the students then get into 6 groups in different areas of the room. They
can be numbered off 1-6 or be instructed to get into even groups, it is up to the
teacher of the lesson. Slide 6. (2 minutes)
6. Pass out the document packet to each student. Have them get into their
groups and pick a document spot in the room to begin the activity. (3 Minutes)
7. Each of the groups will start at a document that is posted around the room.
They will read the document in their packets, discuss the main points, and
write down key points of each document on the large paper on the wall in the
colored marker of their group. The groups will then rotate two times to visit
each of the 3 documents and to write their thoughts on the large paper in the
different colors of their groups. There will be two sets of each document
located around the room so each of the 6 groups will have documents to
discuss and write about. (20 minutes)
8. Then bring the entire class back together to talk about each of the documents
and how they help them to understand the biggest battle of the rebellion at the
Springfield Arsenal. Slides 7-9. (15 minutes)
o Document 1: General William Shepard
After the students have the opportunity to look at this document.
Ask them what information they think this document provided for

them to better understand the rebellion. Then ask about possible

difficulties while interpreting the letter, and clear up any confusion.
Help them walk through step by step the positions of each of the
groups of men, who fired the first shots, etc. Finally ask them why
they think this document matters and how it helped them in the
o Document 2: Daniel Gray Letter
Ask the students: What was the purpose of this document? Who
was the intended audience for this document? Can anyone tell me
a few reasons talked about in the letter why the uprising or
rebellion was occurring?
o Document 3: Springfield Arsenal Battle Painting
Ask the students: According to the first document created by
General Shepard, who are each of the groups of people in the
image? Who is protecting the arsenal? Who is advancing towards
it? What else do you see in the image? Were shots fired? Who fired
9. Finally discuss with the students the reaction that the rebellion caused, which
ultimately led to the bringing together of the Constitutional Convention to
create the Constitution, a document that would more properly run such a large
nation. Slide 10. (5 minutes)
As a closing to the lesson and an assessment, the students will complete
an exit ticket with the 3 Ws. They will respond to three different W questions in
relation to the lesson. What? What have they learned today. So What? Explain
the importance and relevance of this information. And now what? Where they
will explain where they think the unit will be going next and how the lesson fits
into what we are learning about. Slide 11. (10 minutes)

Document 1
Springfield Jan. 26. 1787
The unhappy time is come in which we have been obliged to shed
blood. Shays, who was at the head of about twelve hundred men, marched
yesterday afternoon about four oclock, towards the public buildings in
battle array. He marched his men in an open column by platoons.
I sent several times by one of my aids, & two gentlemen, Captains
Buffington & Woodbridge, to him to know what he was after, or what
he wanted. His reply was, he wanted barracks, & barracks he
would have & Stores. The answer returned was he must purchase
them dear, if he had them. He still proceeded on his march
until he approached within two hundred & fifty yards of the
arsenal. He then made a halt. I immediately sent Major
Lyman, one of my aids, & Capt. Buffington to inform him
not to march his troops any nearer the Arsenal on his peril,
as I was stationed here by order of your Excellency & the
Secretary of War, for the defense of the public property, in
case he did I should surely fire on him & his men. A
Mr. Wheeler, who appeared to be one of Shays' aids, met Mr. Lyman,
after he had delivered my order in the most peremptory manner,
& made answer, that that was all he wanted. Mr. Lyman
returned with his answer. Shays immediately put his troops in
motion, & marched on rapidly near one hundred yards. I then
ordered Major Stephens, who commanded the Artillery, to fire
upon them. He accordingly did. The two first shot he
endeavored to overshoot them, in hopes they would have
taken warning without firing among them, but it had no
effect on them. Major Stephens then directed his shot thro'
the center of his column. The fourth or fifth shot put
their whole column into the utmost confusion. Shays made
an attempt to display the column, but in vain. We had one
howitz which was loaded with grape shot, which when fired, gave
them great uneasiness. Had I been disposed to destroy them, I
might have charged upon their rear & flanks with my Infantry
& the two field pieces & could have killed the greater part of
his whole army within twenty-five minutes. There was not a
single musket fired on either side. I found three men dead
on the the spot & one wounded, who is since dead. One of our Artillery
men by inattention was badly wounded. Three muskets were
taken up with the dead, which were all deeply loaded. I enclose
to your excellency a copy of a paper sent to me last evening. I have
received no reinforcement yet, & expect to be attacked this day
by their whole force combined.

I am Sir, with great respect, Your Excellency's most

obedient & humble Servant.
William Shepard
Letter from Major General Shepard
Particulars of action at Springfield Arsenal

Document 2

Worcester December 7, 1786.

An ADDRESS to the PEOPLE of the several Towns in the County of
Hampshire, from the Body now at arms.
WE have thought proper to inform you of some of the principal causes of the late
risings of the people, and also of their present movement.
1st: The present expensive mode of collecting debts, which by the reason of the great
scarcity of cash, will be necessity fill our gaols with unhappy debtors, and thereby
render a reputable body of people incapable of being serviceable either to themselves
or the community.
2nd. The monies raised by impost and excise being appropriated to discharge the
interest of governmental securities, and not the foreign debt, when these securities are
not subject to taxation.
3rd. A suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, by which those persons who have
stepped forth to assert and maintain the rights of the people, are liable to be the taken,
and conveyed even to the most distant part of the commonwealth, and thereby subject
to an unjust punishment.
4th. The unlimited power granted to Justices of the Peace, Serriffs, Deputy-Sheriffs
and Constables, by the Riot Act, indemnifying them in the prosecution thereof, when
perhaps wholly actuated from a principle of revenge, hatred and envy.
5th. _ _ be assured, that this body now at arms, despite the idea of being initiated by
British emissaries, which is to strenuously propagated by the enemies of our liberties:
We also with the most proper and speedy measures may be taken to discharge both
our foreign and domestic debt.
Per Order,
DANIEL GRAY, Chairman of a Com. for the above purpose.

Document 3