For ProLiteracy Members! Whether you are celebrating with fireworks, a barbecue, a parade—or all three—take this special national holiday to do some fun learning activities with your adult literacy and basic education students. These special activities are all geared toward Independence Day:
July 4th is Independence Day. Independence Day is a day for celebrating the United States. On July 4, 1776, the United States declared independence from Great Britain.
Independence Day can be celebrated in many ways: with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies.
The Declaration of Independence explains why the United States wanted to be independent. The main author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. A total of 56 people signed the Declaration of Independence.
One of the most common symbols of Independence Day is the American flag.
The American flag includes 13 horizontal red and white stripes. It also has a blue rectangle with 50 white stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States. The 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies that declared independence from Great Britain. These colonies became the first 13 states in the new country. The flag is sometimes called "Stars and Stripes,” "Old Glory,” or "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Circle the correct answer from the story.
- What does Independence Day celebrate?
b. The independence of the United States
c. The independence of Great Britain
d. The American flag
- How do many Americans celebrate Independence Day?
a. Shoot fireworks
b. Have barbecues
c. Go to parades
d. All of the above
- What is a common symbol of Independence Day?
a. The British Flag
d. The American Flag
- What are the names of two people who signed the Declaration of Independence?
a. Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock
b. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington
c. John Hancock and George Bush
d. Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Write about you.
- How do you and your friends celebrate Independence Day?
- Do you think the American flag is a good symbol for the United States? Explain your answer.
- What did you learn in this story that you didn’t know before?
Make as many new words as you can from the letters in these words:
Examples: pen, in, depend, add
- Independence Day is the day that _______ (the United States/Great Britain) declared its independence.
- Fireworks, barbecues, and parades are all ways that people_______(celebrate/declare) Independence Day.
- One of the most common symbols of Independence Day is the_______(hot dog/U.S. flag) that symbolizes America.
- People often decorate their houses or businesses in the colors of the American flag--red, white, and_______(blue/black).
- The most common decorations are balloons,_______(flags/eggs), and pictures of Uncle Sam.
- The Declaration of Independence tells_______(why/when) the United States wanted to be independent.
- Thomas Jefferson was one of the main_______(authors/readers) of the Declaration of Independence.
- Independence Day is in the summer, so many of the celebrations happen_______(indoors/outdoors).
Addition and Subtraction Lesson
- Wanda made 16 cupcakes. She gave 10 cupcakes to her friends. How many cupcakes did she have left?
- Jonathan has 12 friends. Half of them came to his barbecue. How many friends attended?
- Julia invited 21 friends to the parade. She also invited 5 family members and 13 neighbors. How many people did Julia invite to the parade?
- Linda had 22 flags. She gave 18 flags to her friends. How many flags did she have left?
- I like to make my own American flags. I need to cut red stripes for 4 flags. Each flag has 7 red stripes. How many red stripes do I need to cut to make 4 flags?
- I have $40 to spend for my party. The fireworks will cost $7.52. The food will cost $22.00. Small flags will cost $6.30. Will I have enough money?
Money and Fractions Lesson
- Ethan is having an Independence Day party at his house. Marco lives seven miles from Ethan. Marco’s friend, Sue, went to the party as well, but she lives 3.5 miles from Ethan's house. How much further did Marco have to walk than Sue?
- It's hard to get up early sometimes to go to work, but not when you know you're going to have a party that day! Our work day starts at 9:00 a.m. We will begin our Independence Day party at noon. How long will we have to work before the party starts?
- Amanda made four cups of strawberry punch, nine cups of pink lemonade punch, and seven cups of ice tea. How much punch did she make in all?
- Rachel wants to bring hotdogs for her 30 coworkers. There are eight hotdogs in each package. How many packages of hotdogs will Rachel need to buy to feed all of her coworkers?
- Dylan bought four bags of potato chips for Independence Day. He spent $1.69 per bag. If he gave the clerk a $20.00 bill and there is no sales tax, how much change should he get back?
- Mario loves to decorate his lawn with American flags on Independence Day. He put out 75 flags, but gave away one-fifth to his friends. How many flags did Mario give away?
Find each state and its capital. Write the capital name next to the state name on the chart below.
Watch this video and have students talk about what America, Independence Day, or the American flag means to them.
Make Your Voice Heard: Write Your Representative
- Help students find their representatives and senators using these two websites: house.gov and senate.gov. Students can enter their zip codes or states to find their elected officials.
- Ask students to research their representative’s position on an issue that is important to them.
- Show students a sample formal letter to a representative. (You can find sample letters online at state and local websites like scstatehouse.gov.) Discuss the parts of the letter and how the letter is formatted. Explain that a letter to an official is written like a persuasive essay. Talk about the parts that the letter will include:
a. An introduction: who you are, why you are writing, what you want
b. Details about your position on an issue and your request, facts and details to support your request
c. A conclusion that sums up your request and thanks the representative for his/her time
Here is an example of how to address a letter to a representative:
If writing to members of the U.S. House of Representatives:
The Honorable (full name) United States House of Representatives (get street address here), Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative (last name):
If writing to members of the U.S. Senate:
The Honorable (full name), United States Senate address (get street address here), Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (last name):
- Direct students to draft their letters. Allow them to refer to the sample letter and the list of parts they should include. Remind them to include specific details and to describe how the issue affects them personally.
Optional: If students want to send the letters, discuss whether to use email or postage. Help them to address and send their letters.
EdNet Citizenship Resources
Are you thinking about becoming a U.S. citizen? Or would you just like to know what someone has to do to become a citizen? You can watch this slide show to learn about the process. You can read about the steps yourself or just listen as someone else reads to you.
At the end of the show, you will be able to read or print out three checklists:
- Becoming a U.S. Citizen
- Benefits of Becoming a U.S. Citizen
- Things to Consider Before You Apply
When you apply for citizenship, you have to take a writing test. First you will listen to someone say a sentence in English. Then you will write that sentence. The sentence will be about U.S. government and history. You can use this activity to practice writing sentences. You will listen to each sentence and then write it on a piece of paper. You can check your work by clicking to make the correct sentence appear on the screen. Here is an example:
The flag has red and white stripes.
You don’t have to know how to write every word in English. You just have to know how to write the words on the Writing Vocabulary list.
When you apply for citizenship, you also have to take a reading test. You will look at a written question and read it out loud.
This activity will help you get ready for the test. You will listen to a question and then look at the list of words used in the question. Then you will drag and drop the words into their correct place to form the question. When you finish, you can read the question out loud and compare it to what you hear. Here is an example:
What is the capital of the United States?
Again, you don’t have to know how to read every word in English. You just have to know how to read the words on the Reading Vocabulary list.