July 4: American Independence Day
What's the big idea?
On July 4 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the American Continental Congress. This document declared America's independence from their British colonial rulers. Every year, Americans commemorate its adoption with a national holiday.
You could start by giving a brief overview of the events that led up to the document's signing. The Independence Day section of the Holidays website should help you get a grasp on the history involved. Then you could go on to look at the ways in which Americans have traditionally celebrated the day.
For younger pupils, you could just say the day marks America's birthday. This could then lead into a general discussion of American culture. Although a little out of date, the assembly plan available on the Primary Resources website could be useful.
Alternatively, you could use the theme of Independence Day to get pupils of any age to reflect on independence and freedom within their own lives. You could discuss the way that greater independence often brings with it greater responsibility, and the way in which our personal freedom is limited to protect the freedoms of others. The rights and responsibilities resources available on the Primary Resources and Unicef websites will support this discussion.
Help, I don't have enough time to prepare
Draw on the ready-made assembly plans available at:
Where can I go for more information?
www.holidays.netindependencestory.htm; www.unicef.org.uktzresourcesassetspdfrights_leaflet.pdf; www.primaryresources.co.ukassemblypdfsrights andresps.pdf
Next Week: World Population Day on July 11.