Skip to main content

Fall SAVY 2019: Day 3 – Spies and Conspiracies (Grades 5/6)

Posted by on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY blog.

Our historians really had some exciting travels through the 1780s these last few weeks. Thank you for sharing such creative and sharp minds with me!  If they are interested in looking at more at the sources we used in class two Saturdays ago, they are both open access and available at: https://full-english-books.net/english-books/full-book-an-artist-in-treason-the-extraordinary-double-life-of-general-james-wilkinson-read-online-chapter-7 and https://etd.library.vanderbilt.edu/available/etd-07162014-131340/unrestricted/Kolb.pdf.
We kicked off our final session by discussing some of the big themes our historians had uncovered during our voyage through time, and they agreed that the biggest things that they thought we had learned about were (of course) conspiracies, challenges facing the early nation, and the uncertainty of the 1780s.  I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Next, we returned to the world of the founders and listed all of the problems facing the United States under the Articles of Confederation.  Then, everyone broke into groups and became representatives from different states to the Convention in 1787 that was supposed to revise the Articles of Confederation.  Our teams took on the task of becoming founding fathers from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Georgia.  They arrived at the Convention in Philadelphia in May of 1787 with a list of 3-5 proposals or questions addressing the problems the nation faced Under the Articles.  Our young founders did an amazing job.  They proposed many things that the real members of the convention proposed, and they broke into argument and debate about topics related to taxation, the payment of national and state debts, western lands, the ability to make treaties with foreign nations and negotiate, slavery, and representation in congress based on population or based on equal representation from each state.  What rock stars!  They were so invested in the debates that they continued when we went outside for our morning break.
In our final activity, our historians crafted conspiracies of their own.  Several were from the era prior to the Constitution.  One occurred during the convention, and one occurred after the ratification of the Constitution.  Each group had to set up plausible answers to the who? when? where? of their conspiracies and set goals.  Next, they had to develop a plot in which they saw how well their conspiracy unfolded.  These conspiracies were excellent and involved Founding Fathers, Native Americans, representatives of France, Spain, and Britain.  They included some real historical personalities like Alexander Hamilton, Manuel Gayoso, George Rogers Clark, William Blount.  These final projects did such a nice job of showing how much we all learned about the challenges of the era of Confederation and the US even after the adoption of the Constitution.
What great, budding historians!  It was a real treat to get to meet everyone and work together these last few weeks.