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The Declaration of Independence: Differentiated Learning Activity


The purpose of this activity is to engage students at various academic levels in examining the Declaration of Independence. Below-level/ELL students will review the historical setting and influential figures surrounding the writing of the Declaration. On-level students will examine parts of the document. Above-level students will compare wording from various source documents with key phrases from the Declaration. All students will “rewrite” the Declaration of Independence as they evaluate alternative wording choices in the document, and later defend their decisions in class discussion.


After completing the activity, students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of the Declaration of Independence
  • Identify and/or analyze key concepts put forth in the Declaration of Independence
  • Evaluate alternative wording choices in the Declaration and defend their decisions

Time Required

Two class periods

Recommended Grade Range



United States History/Government


Social Studies, Language Arts (Reading)


McREL 4th Edition Standards and Benchmarks

Grades K-4 History

Standard 4. Understands how democratic values came to be, and how they have been exemplified by people, events and symbols.

United States History

Standard 6. Understands the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in shaping the revolutionary movement, and reasons for the American victory.

Language Arts: Reading

Standard 7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Language Arts: Listening and Speaking

Standard 8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.

Thinking and Reasoning

Standard 6. Applies decision-making techniques.


Cynthia L. Buher, Whittier Elementary School, Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD #200, Illinois.

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