Myth and Truth – Independence Day

Lesson Duration

Author:  Traci Gardner for ReadWriteThink

Most Americans think of the Fourth of July as Independence Day—but is it really the day the United States declared its independence? This lesson explores all the dates and stories associated with the Declaration of Independence, focusing on the reason there are so many different dates and signings of the document and why we celebrate the nation’s birthday on July 4th rather than one of the other dates. Students first freewrite and discuss questions about how to tell truth from fiction. They then listen to the Schoolhouse Rock song “Fireworks” and discuss how information in the lyrics compares with what they know about the Independence Day holiday. Finally, students research to find the truth behind common myths about Independence Day and the signing of the Declaration of Independence and present their findings to the class.



Students will

  • develop strategies for critically examining the origin and characteristics of myth.
  • develop an awareness of the diversities, similarities, and values in various cultural and story traditions related to the American Revolution.
  • develop strategies for examining messages for bias and missing information.



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