Being an American: The Declaration of Independence

Click on the image below or this link to download a copy of the The Declaration of Independence lesson plan from our curriculum designed to support English language-learners.


  • Examine the famous phrases of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Understand the purpose and structure of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Understand that individuals inherently have rights.
  • Understand that legitimate government depends on the consent of the governed.
  • Appreciate the constitutional principles of liberty and government by consent.

Lesson plan includes the following resources:

Handout A: The Declaration of Independence text (Versions 1 and 2*)
Handout B: Key Excerpts (Versions 1 and 2*)
Handout C: Structure of the Declaration
Handout D: The Declaration, the Founders, and Slavery (Versions 1 and 2*)
Handout E: Slavery Essay
Handout F: Comparing the Second Treatise of Government by John Locke and the Declaration of Independence (Versions 1 and 2*)
Handout G: Glossary of terms
Handout H: Close Reading Test

* Where applicable, version 1 written is at a higher level than version 2.

Download Instructions: Once you click either the image or the link – a PDF will open up in your browser. You will need to save the file to your computer to have access to it later. You can also print the file out once it opens if that is easier for you. You will find a “print icon” and a “save icon” in the upper left corner of the screen AFTER the PDF opens.