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Unit Resources: United States History 2 - Rise to Independence

Unites States History 2 - Rise to Independence: Resources

Lesson 1

Teacher's Guide:

Watch this short video for a quick history overview of the 13 colonies:

Middle School + High School Student Books:

Watch this 3-minute video clip of the famous monologue, “To Be or Not To Be,” from Hamlet:


Lesson 2

Teacher’s Guide:

This 6-minute video explains taxes and the struggle between the colonists and Britain:


Early Reader + Early Elementary Student Books:

Watch this music video from Schoolhouse Rock called “No More Kings”: 


Upper Elementary–High School Student Books:

This is a 3-minute music video called “Too Late to Apologize.” Try to guess what Founding Father each actor is depicting:


Lesson 3

Teacher’s Guide:

This is a short video describing who the the Sons of Liberty were:


Upper Elementary–High School Students: This is a reenactment video of the Boston Massacre (about 3 minutes, use discretion for younger children):


Lesson 4

Teacher’s Guide:

Listen to Benjamin Franklin’s Glass Armonica invention in this short video:


Lesson 5 

Teacher’s Guide:

This Schoolhouse Rock music video is called “The Shot Heard Around the World”:


Early Reader–Middle School Student Books:

This is a website with tongue twisters you can use to practice enunciation:


Upper Elementary–High School Student Books:

Follow this link to read the poem, “The Landlord's Tale. Paul Revere’s Ride”:


This is a video of an animated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reading his poem, "Paul Revere's Ride": 

Lesson 6

Teacher’s Guide:

Watch this 3-minute animated video on Ticonderoga in “Battles of America”: 


Early Reader–High School Student Books:

This is a short 2-minute animated video on Bunker Hill in “Battles of America”:


Lesson 7

Teacher's Guide:

Watch this 5-minute Drive Thru History video on “A look Inside George Washington’s Life”:

Follow the link to this resource website to view George Washington’s rules:

Lesson 8

Teacher’s Guide:

You can read The Declaration of Independence in modern language on this website:


Upper Elementary–High School Student Books:

Watch this inspiring 15-minute video for a dramatic reading of The Declaration of Independence: 

Follow this link to find out surprising facts surrounding the Declaration of Independence:


Lesson 9

Teacher's Guide:

Watch this quick video to learn some American flag facts and proper etiquette here:


Watch this 9-minute video to hear a wonderful retelling of the story behind the writing of the National Anthem:

Pre-Reader–Early Elementary Student Books: 

Follow along with this video to recite the The Pledge of Allegiance: 


Upper Elementary–High School Student Books:

This is a web page with the poem “O Captain, My Captain!” 


Lesson 10

Teacher's Guide:

For Middle and High School students: Here is a 4-minute account of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge: 


Early Elementary Student Books:

This link is a quick animated introduction to the winter at Valley Forge:


Upper Elementary–High School Student Books:

This is a 4-minute video about Valley Forge:

Lesson 11

Teacher’s Guide:

For Middle and High School students: Watch this short video for a good explanation of the Treaty of Paris: 

Lesson 12

Teacher’s Guide:


You can read the Constitution in simpler language on this web page:


Watch this video to learn an easy way to remember the Bill of Rights:

Lesson 13

Teacher’s Guide:

This 3-minute video explains the reasons Washington chose the location of the capital. It includes some beautiful videography of the area:

Middle School–High School Student Books:

From King George’s perspective, a hilarious music video from Hamilton, “You’ll Be Back”:


Lesson 14

Teacher’s Guide:

Follow the link to hear a 6-minute narrative from the life of Col. Daniel Boone:


Early Reader–High School Student Books:

This link will take you to a website for a virtual tour of National Parks:

Lesson 15

Teacher’s Guide:

Younger students: This video gives a brief overview of the 2nd President: John Adams. 

Older Students: This video is a 3-minute mini biography of John Adams. 

Lesson 16

Teacher’s Guide:

This is a 6-minute video biography of Thomas Jefferson for all ages:

Middle School–High School Student Books:

Here is a resource for researching details of Thomas Jefferson's life: 


Lesson 17

Teacher’s Guide:

This video gives the historical context for the Louisiana Purchase for all ages:


Here is a 3-minute video explaining the Louisiana Purchase:


Lesson 18

Teacher’s Guide:

Here is a list of animals discovered by Lewis and Clark on their journey westward:


This 8-minute video explains and reenacts the Lewis and Clark expedition:


Lesson 19

Teacher’s Guide:

Here is a 5-minute animated overview of the War of 1812 from PragerU:

High School Student Books:

Read the debate over Francis Scott Key’s words, “Land of the Free,” on this web page: 


Lesson 20

Teacher’s Guide:

This 4-minute video is a spotlight on Eli Whitney and his influence on the Industrial Revolution in America:

Here is a quick video overview of the turning point in history caused by the Industrial Revolution:


Book list

Lesson 1: One Nation Under God

If You Were a Kid in the Thirteen Colonies by Wil Mara (PR)

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall (PR) 

Colonial Times from A to Z by Bobbie Kalman (ER) 

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh (EE) 

Calico Bush by Rachel Field (UE) 

Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (UE) 

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (MS) 

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (MS) 

The Iron Peacock by Mary Stetson Clarke (HS) *

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen (HS) *

Other Resources:

Colonial Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes by David C. King 

*Contain some mature themes. We recommend parents pre-read these books and assess if they are appropriate for their high school readers. 

Lesson 2: Taxation Without Representation

The ABCs of the American Revolution by Connor Boyack and Elijah Stanfield (PR)

Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay (EE) 

Songbird by Nancy Lohr (UE) 

Colonial Voices Hear Them Speak by Kay Winters (UE) 

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare (MS) 

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski (HS) 

Lesson 3: Birthplace of the Revolution

Trouble Brewing: A Fun Song About the Boston Tea Party by Michael Dahl (PR) 

The Liberty Tree: The Beginning of the American Revolution by Lucille Rech Penner (EE) 

You Wouldn’t Want to be at the Boston Tea Party! by Peter Cook (UE) 

Sleds on Boston Common: A Story from the American Revolution by Louise Borden (UE) 

One Small Spark by Laurie Minniti (MS) 

The Voice, the Revolution, and the Key by Jenny L. Cote (HS) 

Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara (HS) 

Lesson 4: Benjamin Franklin

An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution by Beth Anderson (PR) 

Ben Franklin and His First Kite by Stephen Krensky (ER) 

Ben Franklin Thinks Big by Sheila Keenan (ER) 

What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? by Jean Fritz (EE) 

The Story of Benjamin Franklin: A Biography Book for New Readers by Shannon Anderson (EE) 

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson (EE) 

Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer by Augusta Stevenson (EE) 

The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin by James Giblin (UE) 

Who Was Ben Franklin? by Dennis Brindell Fradin (UE) 

Poor Richard by James Daugherty (MS) 

Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Brandon Marie Miller (MS) 

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (HS) 

Lesson 5: War Begins

Which Way to the Revolution? by Bob Barner (PR) 

Sam the Minuteman by Nathaniel Benchley (ER)(EE) 

Susanna's Midnight Ride: The Girl Who Won the Revolutionary War by Libby Carty McNamee (UE) 

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz (UE) 

One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale (UE) 

Let it Begin Here by Dennis Brindell Fradin (MS) 

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (MS) 

Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold by Jean Fritz (HS) 

My Brother Sam is Dead by Christopher Collier (HS) 

Lesson 6: Beyond the Olive Branch

Harriet Tubman Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (PR) 

Our American History Six Book Set by various authors (ER) 

Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz (EE) 

Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys by Patricia Gauch (UE) 

Ben's Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick (UE)

The Adirondack Kids #11: The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga Paperback by Gary and Justin VanRiper (UE) 

The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery (MS) 

Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi (MS) 

Guns For General Washington by Seymour Reit (HS) 

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton by Rich Atkinson (HS) 

Lesson 7: George Washington

My Little Golden Book About George Washington by Lori Haskins Houran (PR) 

George Washington: The First President by Sarah Albee (ER) 

George Washington's Cows by David Small (EE) 

Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin (EE) 

The Story of George Washington: A Biography Book for New Readers by Lisa Trusiani (EE) 

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz (UE) 

Washington at Valley Forge by Russell Freedman (MS) 

Washington’s Secret War by Thomas Fleming (HS) 

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777 by Michael O. Logusz (HS) 

Lesson 8: The Declaration of Independence

The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country (PR) by Mike Berenstain 

Fourth of July Mice by Bethany Roberts (ER) 

The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh (EE) 

The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence by Judith St. George (EE) 

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle (UE)

What Is the Declaration of Independence? by Michael C. Harris (UE) 

Give Me Liberty!: The Story of the Declaration of Independence by Russell Freedman (MS) 

The Declaration, the Sword and the Spy by Jenny L. Cote (HS) 

Carrying Independence by Karen A. Chase (HS) 

Lesson 9: The American Flag

Our Flag by Carl Memling (PR) 

Easy Reader Biographies: Besty Ross by Pamela Chanko (ER)

Keep On Sewing, Betsy Ross!: A Fun Song About the First American Flag by Michael Dahl (EE) 

The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country by Mike Berenstain (EE) 

Who Was Betsy Ross? By James Buckley (UE) 

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution by Laurie Halsie Anderson (UE) 

Betsy Ross and the First Flag of the United States of America: The People, Events, and Ideas Behind the Design and Creation of the Flag and Seal of the United States by Col. J. Franklin Reigart (MS) 

Capture the Flag; A Political History of American Patriotism by Woden Teachout (HS) 

Lesson 10: War Rages On

Henry and the Cannons by Don Brown (PR)

Toliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady (EE) 

A Kids' Guide to the American Revolution by Kathleen Krull (UE)

Early Thunder by Jean Fritz (MS) 

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777 by Michael O. Logusz (HS)

Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge by Thomas Fleming (HS)

Lesson 11: Peace at Long Last

George the Drummer Boy by Nathaniel Benchley (ER) 

Surprised at Yorktown by Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders (EE) 

At the Battle of Yorktown: An Interactive Battlefield Adventure by Eric Mark Braun (MS) 

Rebel with a Cause: The Daring Adventure of Dicey Langston, Girl Spy of the American Revolution by Kathleen Kudlinski (MS) 

Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halsie Anderson (HS) 

Lesson 12: We the People

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow (PR) (PR) (ER) 

What is the Constitution by Patricia Brennan Demuth (EE) 

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz (UE) 

The Pinched Pinkney Plan by Holly Felmlee (MS) 

Daniel Boone: Frontiersman by Janet and Geoff Benge (MS) (HS) 

The Know Your Bill of Rights Book: Don't Lose Your Constitutional Rights--Learn Them! by Sean Patrick (HS) 

Other Resource: Lesson plans, commentary, and storytelling about the Constitution with something for all ages

Lesson 13: The Nation’s Capital

Good Night Washington, DC by Adam Gamble (PR) 

Larry Gets Lost in Washington, DC by John Skewes (PR) (ER) 

Secrets of Our Nation’s Capital: Weird and Wonderful Facts About Washington, DC by Susan Schader Lee (EE) 

Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #9: The US Capital Commotion by Jeff Brown (EE) 

Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Nation’s Capital by Charlotte Pence (EE) 

Capital! Washington D.C. from A to Z by Laura Krauss Melmed (EE) 

Our Nation’s Capital: Washington, DC by Kelly Rodgers (UE) 

Capital Days: Michael Shiner’s Journal and the Growth of Our Nation’s Capital by Tonya Bolden (MS) 

Strange and Obscure Stories of Washington, DC: Little-Known Tales about Our Nation's by Tim Rowland (HS) 

Lesson 14: America Grows Westward

Who Was Daniel Boone By Sydelle Kramer (EE) 


Daniel Boone’s Great Escape by Michael P. Spradlin (EE) 

Danel Boone, Young Hunter and Tracker By Augusta Stevenson (EE) 

Daniel Boone and the Cumberland Gap by Andrew Santella (UE) 

The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter (MS) 

Daniel Boone’s Own Story & The Adventures of Daniel Boone by Daniel Boone and Francis Lister Hawkes (HS) 

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper  (HS) 

Lesson 15: John Adams

A Picture Book of John and Abigail Adams by David A. Adler (PR) 

John Adams Speaks for Freedom by Deborah Hopkinson and Craig Orback (ER) 

Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain (EE)

The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness (UE)  (UE)

John Adams and the Boston Massacre (Graphic Heroes of the American Revolution) 

by Gary Jeffrey (MS) 

John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial by Dan Abrams (HS) 

Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober (HS) 

1776 by David McCullough (HS) 

Lesson 16: Thomas Jefferson

A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson by David A. Adler 

Thomas Jefferson’s Feast by Frank Murphy (ER) 

Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson’s Mammoth by Candice Ransom (EE) 

The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence by Judith St. George (EE) 

Who Was Thomas Jefferson? by Dennis Brindell Fradin (UE)

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock (UE) 

Give Me Liberty!: The Story of the Declaration of Independence by Russell Freedman (MS) 

Thomas Jefferson: Philosopher and President by Nancy Whitelaw (HS) 

Lesson 17: The Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase by Peter Roop (EE) 

The Louisiana Purchase by Rachel Lynette (UE) 

The Louisiana Purchase: Asking Tough Questions by Nel Yomtov (UE) 

The Louisiana Purchase (Making a New Nation) by Michael Burgan (MS) 

What's the Deal?: Jefferson, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase by Rhoda Blumberg (HS) 

Lesson 18: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

From Sea to Shining Sea (Ellis the Elephant) by Callista Gingrich (PR) 

The Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David A. Alder (PR) 

Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President by Shirley Raye Redmond (ER) 

Sacagawea (Sheroes) by Christine Platt (EE) 

Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale by Laurie Meyers (UE) 

Seaman’s Journal by Patricia Reeder Eubank (UE) 

Exploring with the Lewis and Clark Expedition: A This or That Debate by Jessica Rusick (UE) 

Seaman, The Dog Who Explored The West with Lewis and Clark by Gail Langer Karwoski (MS) 

Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O’Dell (MS) 

How We Crossed The West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer (MS) 

Sacagawea’s Nickname: Essay on the American West by Larry McMurtry (HS) 

Lesson 19:

The Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier (PR) 

Star Spangled Banner: Smithsonian by Nancy R. Lambert (ER) 

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington by Don Brown (EE) 

Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner by Monica Kulling (UE) 

Rescuing the Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost the Words That Build America by Anna Crowley Redding (UE) 

The War of 1812: By the Dawn’s Early Light by Heather E. Schwartz (UE) 

The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz (MS) 

Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem by Tim Grove (HS) 

Other Resource: Audiobook: Davy Crockett: A Captivating Guide to the American Folk Hero Who Fought in the War of 1812 and the Texas Revolution 

Lesson 20: The Rise Of Industry

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray by Dave Eggers (PR) 

If Your name Was Changed At Ellis Island by Ellen Levine (EE) 

Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman (EE) 

Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin by Jessica Gunderson (UE) 

Munford Meets Robert Fulton by Jamie Aramini (UE) 

The Cotton Gin: A History Just for Kids by KidCaps (MS) 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (MS) 

The Story Of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Lathman (HS) 

Making It Go: The Life and Work of Robert Fulton by Don Herweck (HS) 

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (HS)