Grade 5 – Nathan Hale: A Connecticut Hero

by Rachel DiSilvestro


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Nathan Hale, Revolutionary War
Theme
Cultural Diversity and an American National Identity
Town
Coventry, East Haddam, New London, Norwalk, Statewide
Related Search Terms
American Revolution, Hero, Patriot, Spy
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 5 – Early United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

What makes a hero?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What actions make a hero?
  • What characteristics describe a hero?
  • How can words and pictures make people perceive someone as a hero?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson:

  Document commissioning Nathan Hale a Captain

Document commissioning Nathan Hale a captain in the nineteenth regiment of foot command by Colonel Charles Webb. Signed by John Hancock – Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Last Words of Captain Nathan Hale
Last Words of Captain Nathan Hale, the Hero-Martyr of the American RevolutionNew York Public Library Digital Collections, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Start by asking students to define a “hero.” What characteristics or actions make a person a hero?

Have students examine the document commissioning Nathan Hale as a captain in the army of the United Colonies.

  • Look for words in the document that describe Hale’s character or the expectations for his behavior. (Students may need assistance defining unfamiliar terms or expressions.)
  • Students should discuss these terms and compare with their previous definition of a hero.

Show students the illustration (created much later–in the 1850s) depicting the last words of Nathan Hale, just prior to his hanging by the British.

  • What do students see/notice in the image?
  • How would they describe the various characters in the image?
  • What questions do they have about what they see?
  • What guesses can they make about what is happening?

Explain that the image was created about 75 years after the events shown.

  • What do you think the artist’s purpose was in creating the image?
  • What did the artist want you to feel about Nathan Hale?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Students will discuss why Connecticut chose Nathan Hale as the state hero, considering important American values and how these contribute to our American identity. Students will then investigate other people who played “heroic” roles in the American Revolution or in Connecticut’s history, and present their findings through a “Museum of Heroes” (posters, songs, role-playing, etc.).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles to READ