Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ................................................................................................................painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Role Playing History : Patriots and Independence, part II: Prelude to Revolution 1763-1765



Reading Assignment for the Week:
Read George Washington's World, Genevieve Foster, part II When George Washington was a Soldier

Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, pgs 296-299. Read each section and write a paragraph summarizing the section in your notebook.

Read one or more of the following books:
George Washington,  Spymaster, How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War, Thomas Allen
A nonfiction book about George Washington and spying during the Revolutionary War. 
Toliver's Secret  Esther Wood Brady Ten-year old Ellen Toliver must conquer her timidity to take a secret message through enemy lines during the Revolutionary War.
Phoebe the Spy,  Judith Griffin (grades 3-7) Dramatic true story of a little black girl who foiled a plan to kill George Washington.
George Washington's Spy (Time Travel Adventures), Elvira Woodruff  (grades 4-6) Ten-year-old Matt Carlton and six friends are accidentally swept back in time--to Boston in 1776 where the boys are being held captive by a den of Patriot spies, the girls have been taken in by a wealthy Tory family.
A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent, Anne Rockwell   (grades 2-5) The true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington's army during the American Revolution.
The Sherwood Ring, Elizabeth Pope Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame becomes involved with the spirits of her own Colonial ancestors and witnesses the unfolding of a centuries-old romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled. 


Day 1
Hands-On Project and Writing Assignment: Revolutionary Replica
Elementary Students: Your assignment is to research and create a replica of one person that has made a positive political,  social, economic or cultural contribution to the Revolutionary War period.
After researching your person, have a friend trace around your body while you lie down on a large piece of butcher paper. Cut out the outline. Tape a hanger on the back of the replica's shoulders  so it does not show from the front.  Using a picture you find of your person, draw as best as you can detailed features such as clothing, hat, shoes, facial features. Include a front pocket on your person's coat or jacket.
In the pocket, slip in a small item which exhibits your detailed knowledge of this person. Sometimes you will need two items, but they must both fit in the pocket.
from Presidential Pockets

Middle School Students: Make just the above pocket without the entire replica. On the back, write down in outline form at least 12 important and interesting facts you have discovered in your research.

Middle and High School StudentsUsing your outline of the research of a Revolutionary Era person or relying on memory, write a 80-100 word paragraph about your Revolutionary person, which covers both the public and private sides of this person. Take a piece of paper and make a grid on the paper 12 boxes along the long side and 5 boxes across the short side. You should end up with 60 boxes.
Using the paragraph to guide you, select 60 words and write one word in each of the boxes you made on the grid you made earlier. Include the following:
5 pronouns
5 verbs
5 adjectives
5 adverbs
5 gerunds
5 conjunctions
5 prepositions
10 articles
15 common nouns
15 proper nouns

Once you have finished filling in the grid, cut apart the 60 words and put them in an envelope. Write the name of your Revolutionary person on the envelope.
Trade your envelope with another student for their envelope. Notice the name on the envelope before you open the envelope and spread out the 60 words. Arrange some (or all) of the words in poetic form (you could teach poetic forms as a joint study). Look at several combinations of words before you decide to discard any.

For the teacher: Remember, you will be giving out Righteousness points for their work.

Day 2
Presentations Assignment
Elementary and Middle School Students: Students introduce their Revolutionary person using the replica as if it were a guest to introduce, or using the details you have outlined. At the end of your introduction,  pull the item(s) from his pocket and explain how it relates to your person.
High School Students: Present a small speech about what you have learned about the person you researched. Have an engaging introduction using a little-known fact.
For the teacher: Remember, you will be giving out Righteousness points for their work.

Spies and Spying: Basic Training
For the  Teacher: Introduce students to the unsavory work of a spy. To train your spies, teach them about codes, a type of secret writing that doesn't use a secret alphabet. One such code is the letter mask, which reveals certain key information buried within a longer innocent looking message. The mask is a piece of paper with openings cut into them, which are then placed on top of letters. The openings in the mask reveals the real message. To mislead anyone who might intercept them, the letters usually include false military information. An interesting research possibility if your student has an interest in this is British General Sir Henry Clinton's dumbbell shaped mask.

Example of a letter mask code.

Another type of code is the cipher. A cipher is a secret alphabet, often using symbols in place of letters. A common cipher is one used by Loyalist spy Dr. Benjamin Church (another interesting research topic). To make the cipher key, write the alphabet down one side of a piece of paper, putting each letter on a separate line. Now write the alphabet in reverse next to the original letters, also one letter for each line. The first line should then read A Z, the second B Y, etc. To write in this cipher, you substitute the correct letter for its substitute in the second column. To decode it, you reverse it back to the original letters. Using this cipher,  have your students decode the following message.
IVZWGSRHXZIVUFOOBZMWWVOREVIRGGLTVMVIZODZHSRMTGLM

Hands-On Project: Spies and Spying
For the  Teacher: After their basic training, you can now act as an Patriot who has been spying on the British and has been charged with the job of leaving a message for a fellow Patriot to pick up. For this assignment you will need to designate an area for the students to hide and retrieve messages. You can use your own home or an area in your neighborhood or another public place. It doesn't matter where it is as long as the students are clear on the area's perimeters and they can leave messages hidden and will have them be able to retrieve messages with a reasonable certainty. You will need two students for this activity. If you have more than two students, you can have them work cooperatively in two groups instead. If at any point during the spy maneuvers, you see your student, you can "capture" him and then the message gets passed untouched.

1. Using the following message, put it into a code or cipher of your choice. The difficulty of the code or cipher can be determined by the age of your students.

This message is vital to Patriot victory. After two false marches this past week, British regulars appear ready to march once again outside Boston.  The Middlesex countryside will be alerted. Fear that General Gage plans to capture Hancock, S. Adams in Lexington and take military stores at Concord.



2. Put the coded message somewhere in the prearranged area while your students cover the area as spies for the British. The student who first sees your is the British spy who retrieves the message, decodes it, and takes it to the second student, along with the key he has used to decode it and directions as to where the note was found. He can draw a map or do anything that would help to ensure that the message will be left in the exact same spot.You don't want this to be too frustrating an activity, so don't make the code too hard. If he struggles too much, give him a hint or the key. All of this spy work should be done without you seeing him do any of it as you are a Patriot!
3. The second student encodes it into a false message that looks like the original message but has false information. This student then puts this message where the original message was found for the Patriots to collect. All of this spy work should be done without you seeing him do any of it as you are a Patriot!
4. You will collect this message and it will be given to the superior officer in the role-play scenario.

To the Students: Sharpen your memory and observation skills for you will be playing Loyalist spies, and then double agents pretending to work for General Washington and the Patriots.. During this part of the role-playing scenario, one of you will receive a secret message (about a situation that was or could have been real) that you will need to decode or to write a new fake message and turn that into the same code. This message is then to be left for the Patriots to find. Blend into your surroundings as well as you can by being inconspicuous and incognito. Don't carry any incriminating evidence. Write all messages in code. Never confide in anyone, except your military contact. Don't get caught.  If you do, do not admit being a spy, even at the prospect of death.
For the first student: Your teacher will be hiding a message in a pre-designated area (another spy has given you the tip that this is the newest message leaving spot) that needs to be put decoded and then given to a second agent. Secretively tell him exactly where you found your message. You can draw a map,  if you don't fear that being confiscated. Later exchange code or cipher keys with your spy contact.  You must do all of this without being seen by the Patriot spy, your teacher.
For the second student: You need to take this message from the first student, write a new, false message and then put this into a coded message, using the code given to you by your fellow spy. Make sure you do not keep both the coded message and the key in the same place or the enemy may find it and decode the message! Read the entire message several times to fully understand the details and significance of the situation. You then need to take this new message and leave it at the exact spot your contact told you he found his message. You must do all of this without being seen by the Patriot, your teacher.

Day 3
The Role Play: The Minutemen
To the Teacher/Gamesmaster: For this game, I have written a possible series of events. Because your students/players can choose to do virtually anything they wish to do, I could not possibly prepare for any possible set of circumstances. To some degree, the story is written by the collaboration of you and your student's actions. I have, however written a few events to be a framework of the story so that it has some order to it. If you get too far off track, you can help to guide your students/players back to where you want them to be to join up with the story. Sometimes, however, I find that your students/players can write a better story than I could have imagined, so if it is going well, don't let this outline get in the way of this. At any rate, try not to feel to overwhelmed by all of this. It does get easier the more you do it.

The Minutemen
It is April 19, 1775. You are all double-agents, spies for the British that are posing as Patriots in Washington's army.  You are aware of a message that is important to Patriot victory has been confiscated and a false message has been exchanged for it. This false message has been given to Captain Parker, who has conferred with General George Washington. 

If the spies were able to secretly exchange the message:
After talking to General Washington, Captain Parker orders the company of approximately 70 men in addition to your group to grab muskets, powder horns and haversacks and meet at the Town Green at 1:00 am. You are then drilled, but everyone seems to be in a casual mood. After a time, you are dismissed. What do you do?

You enjoy a casual evening meal with your fellow soldiers. You know that British soldiers are on their way toward you and are expected to arrive before morning, but you do not know exactly when they will arrive. The evening passes quickly and you are all bedded for the night. You remain awake waiting for the British soldiers and planning of how you will stay out of the way so as not to get hurt and yet seem to be faithful Patriots.

At about 4:00 am, a soldier on horseback gallops into camp and you overhear Captain Parker getting the message that the British are unexpectedly several miles from town. Captain Parker orders Billy Diamond, the 16 year old drummer boy to signal the company to reassemble with his drum. It isn't quite light yet, so you can barely see when the British come marching up and stop behind the town meeting hall. Captain Parker says, "Stand your ground. Don't fire until fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here!" What do you do?

The British officer in charge, who is facing your army, yells that you are all villains and rebels and you all should all lay down your arms. Guns begin going off, although you can't tell how much are from which side, or who started it. The Patriot company is moving backwards, but the British continue firing. A few British rush your company and bayonet some of the men who have been hit. What do you do?

The Patriots fall back to Concord Road, where the company you are in meet up with other militia and alarm companies. The British are continuing to press in. Some are burning supplies, the Liberty Pole and the courthouse.  Captain Parker commands you to retreat to the North Bridge at attack the British from there. What do you do?

The Patriots are doing well, so the British fall back to Concord, and then on the road to Boston. Your company captures a British soldier who is shot in the foot. The Patriots question him, but all he will tell them is that he is Thomas Bernard, a Lieutenant in the 23rd Welsh Fusiliers, part of Lord Percy's relief expedition. He says he is surprised how well the rebels fight, but that he shouldn't be as Lord Percy himself had said to him not five minutes before his capture that whoever looks upon the rebels as an irregular mob, will find themselves much mistaken. He also says that he believes that only a coward would hide themselves behind cover and kill a soldier of the King without showing himself and that they would not have lost as many as they did if the scoundrels had fought out in the open like a regular army. What do you do?

You are now in the Patriot soldier's camp along Cambridge road, approximately four miles northwest of Charlestown, across the Charles River from Boston. You are hearing lots of talk for the first time about calling for full independence from England. What do you do?


If the spies were captured and the original message goes through as originally written: After talking to General Washington, Captain Parker orders the company of approximately 70 men in addition to your group to grab muskets, powder horns and haversacks and meet at the Town Green at 1:00 am. You are drilled for awhile  and at 2:00, the company is ordered to load muskets. After a time, Captain Parker received a message that the British are several miles from town. So he dismisses you and orders you to reassemble when you hear the beat of the drums. Many are going to Buckman Tavern to stay warm. You are beginning to wonder if your fellow spies were able to successfully substitute the message as it seems the original plans are taking place. Besides, one of your fellow spies seems to be missing. What do you do?

At 4:30 Captain Parker orders Billy Diamond, the 16 year old drummer boy to signal the company to reassemble with his drum. It isn't quite light yet, so you can barely see when the British come marching up and stop behind the town meeting hall. Captain Parker says, "Stand your ground. Don't fire until fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here!" The British officer in charge, who is facing your army, yells that you are all villains and rebels and you all should all lay down your arms. What do you do?

Guns begin going off, although you can't tell how much are from which side, or who started it. The Patriot company is moving backwards, but the British continue firing. A few British rush your company and bayonet some of the men who have been hit. What do you do?

The company falls back to Concord Road, where the Patriot company you are in meet up with other militia and alarm companies. The British are continuing to press in. Some are burning supplies, the Liberty Pole and the courthouse.  Captain Parker commands you to retreat to the North Bridge and attack the British from there. What do you do?

Although an unexpected attack, the Patriots seem to be doing well. The British fall back to Concord,  and then on the road to Boston. Your Patriot company captures a British soldier who is shot in the foot. The Patriots question him, but all he will tell them is that he is Thomas Bernard, a Lieutenant in the 23rd Welsh Fusiliers, part of Lord Percy's relief expedition. He says he is surprised how well the rebels fight, but that he shouldn't be as Lord Percy himself had said to him not five minutes before his capture that whoever looks upon the rebels as an irregular mob, will find themselves much mistaken. He also says that he believes that only a coward would hide themselves behind cover and kill a soldier of the King without showing himself and that they would not have lost as many as they did if the scoundrels had fought out in the open like a regular army. What do you do?

You are now in a soldier's camp along Cambridge road, approximately four miles northwest of Charlestown, across the Charles River from Boston. You are hearing lots of talk for the first time about calling for full independence from England. What do you do?


Day 4
Note-taking and Oral Presentations
Middle and High School Students:
For the Teacher: Have your students complete research and prepare an oral presentation on the following  topics. The oral presentations should be seven to eight minutes long and I encourage students to also prepare a poster or other visual to illustrate their event. The other students are to take notes during the oral presentations and keep these notes in their notebooks. I like to begin this series of presentations with one of my own for the students to model. I also guide them through note-taking using either my presentation or a student's. Monitor student progress continually. You are there to advise, encourage and guide student work. Remember, you will be giving out Righteousness points for their work.

For the Students: You will only be able to make compelling arguments if you understand the events that led up to each Continental Congress and how these events caused the colonists to suggest the proposals. You need to read, discuss the events and determine how these events probably affected the colonists in the 1700's. You have to think about what impact it had on the Patriots, the Loyalists and the Neutralists and whether the event affected those who lived in cities,  or rural areas or in the Northern, Middle or Southern Colonies. Would each event be a win or loss? Be prepared to defend your position.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763
All settlement is forbidden in the area west of the Appalachians.

The Currency Act of 1764
The colonials are forbidden to make paper money as legal tender. 

The Sugar Act of 1764
The duty on importation of foreign molasses is reduced to 6d (pence) to 3d. It is hoped that the colonials will pay the tax and not the bribe. There will be new duties on the imports of sugar, indigo, coffee, pimento,  wine and textiles. All those violating this act will be tried in the Admiralty Courts, not in courts of local jurisdiction.

The Stamp Act of 1765
All of the following documents must display a government stamp : legal documents,  newspapers, almanacs, playing cards and dice. All those violating this act will be tried in Admiralty Courts, not in the courts of local jurisdiction.

Quartering Act of 1765
All colonies in which British troops are located must furnish the troops with living quarters and supplies like candles, vinegar, salt and bedding.

Virginia Resolution of 1765
The House of Burgesses, representatives of the sovereign people of Virginia, reject the right of Great Britain to tax Virginians and hereby declare that only Virginians can tax Virginians. (Everyone loses 1 POW.)

The Sons of Liberty of 1765
This patriotic group is organized, vowing to refrain from doing any business that requires stamps. 


Day 5
Role-playing Game Play
After students have looked over the events and decided on how the events would have affected the various colonists, you will give them the outcomes in terms of game play. The Currency Act of 1764All farmers, merchants and bankers lose 5 POWs. Quartering Act of 1765All city residents lose 3 POWs. The Sons of Liberty of 1765Patriots lose 5 POWs. Neutralists and Loyalists lose 2 POWs.

Allow time for each character to decide which Pressure Actions they will take. Students then record gains and losses of their own POWs.

Loyalist Faction Pressure Actions
1. Petition the king to punish the rebels.  Cost 1 RP'S,  Effect -2 RP'S.
2. See that the laws are strictly enforced.  Cost 2 RP'S,  Effect -5 RP'S.
3. Hire spied to gather intelligence.  Cost 3 RP'S,  Effect -5 RP'S.
4. Make sure the taxes are collected.  Cost 3 RP'S,  Effect -6 RP'S
5. Refuse to patronize a particular business.  Cost 4 RP'S,  Effect -8 RP'S
6. Boycott certain establishments.  Cost 5 RP'S,  Effect -10 RP'S
7. Have someone arrested.  Cost 7 RP'S,  Effect -14 RP'S
8. Hire Bodyguards to protect your business. (This stops all Pressure Actions against your business.) Cost 15, Effect 0.
9. Hire a gang of tough to rough up somebody. Cost 10, Effect -20.

10. Hire bodyguards to protect you. (This stops all Pressure Actions against you, your home and family.) Cost 30 RP'S,  Effect 0.

Announce which characters will be affected by Fates and what those Fates are. Allow students to record these changes to their POWs.


Loyalist Fates
1. A mysterious fire burns your storage shed to the ground   Lose 3 RP'S
2. Local citizens refuse to patronize your business.  Lose 10 RP'S
3. Your sister, her husband and their six children leave their farm in the West because of the fear of the Indians.  They come to live with you. Lose 1 RP
4. There has been an enormous increase in crime in the area.  Lose 5 RP'S
5. You discover that your brother is the leader of the local Sons of Liberty. You turn him over to the police.  Gain 1 RP

6. You have hired bodyguards who can stop any action that is taken against you.  Gain 5 RP'S

Remember, you will be giving out Righteousness points for their work.

Sources:
  • Renaissance, Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton 
  • Patriots, A Simulation and Resource Notebook on the American Revolution, Bill Lacey and Terry Handy, Interaction Publishers 
  • Independence, A Simulation of the American Revolution, 1763-1776, Charles Kennedy and Paul DeKock, Interaction Publishers, Inc.

The next post in this series will be about the Stamp Act Congress.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this project, and the pocket idea is awesome way to level a project.

    Amusingly enough I just updated a post about spies in the American Revolution.

    ReplyDelete

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