The Articles of Confederation

Middle School and High School Teacher

The students will research the “first rules” of the United States, the Articles of Confederation.

Grade Level: 6 - 8th


Length of Time: 2 to 3 Class Periods

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Common Core Alignment

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3 - Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

- (See note; not applicable as a separate requirement)

Objectives & Outcomes

The students will be able to list the Articles of Confederation, determine the basis for the Articles, and the reasons why they were later changed.                                        

Materials Needed

Copy of the Articles of Confederation for each student.  Butcher paper, or large sheet of paper for display purposes.

Prepare ahead of time:  Copies of the Articles of Confederation for each student.  A map of the original 13 colonies for display purposes.


Opening to Lesson

  • Ask students:  Why are rules needed in society?
  • Allow for student responses and discussion.
  • Ask follow-up questions, such as what life would be like without rules, are rules changeable, who should make rules or laws, etc.
  • Allow for continued discussion and/or debate.

Body of Lesson


  • Ask students to name one rule in the classroom and why it is in effect.
  • Allow for responses and discussion.
  • Display the map of the original 13 colonies.  Ask students if they think it would have been necessary for the colonists to have rules as well and why.
  • Introduce the Articles of Confederation.  Distribute a copy to every student.

Guided Practice

  • Tell students they will be assigned two articles each and will do research about each article.  They will research what motivated the rule to be made, what may have occurred before the law was passed, future issues or problems (if any) of having the law, other information about the law, and finally, to share their opinion about the each assigned article.
  • Assign two articles to each student in the class.
  • Allow students access to the Internet or other written resources.
  • Once students have completed the research, they will use a piece of butcher paper (or other like paper) to write the article, and then include bullet points summarizing their research.  (They will not include their opinion in the bullet points.)
  • Assign each student a few minutes to present one of the researched articles and then to verbally share their opinion about it.
  • Each student presents to the class.  Each article should be presented approximately two times.

Independent Practice

  • Prepare a rubric to be used for students’ research.  Create a test or quiz related to the Articles of Confederation.


  • Ask students: Which rules in society today would you like to see changed and why?
  • Allow for student responses and discussion.
  • Ask students: Which rules would you like to see changed in school and why?
  • Allow for student response and discussion.
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Assessment & Evaluation

Prepare a rubric to be used for students’ research.  Create a test or quiz related to the Articles of Confederation.

Modification & Differentiation

Students work in pairs for the research.  Allow each student to create an “Articles of the Classroom or School”, with changes they feel are necessary.    Assign students the signers of the Articles to research.  Students compare/contrast the Articles with the Constitution.

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