Carpenters' Hall

Historic Newspaper Activity

SUGGESTED TIME: 4 hours of class time with one homework assignment


The students will be able to...

  • Choose significant events in American History regarding events that took place in and around Carpenters' Hall from the years 1774, 1775, and 1776
  • Conduct research from both books and the Internet to compile information
  • Write newsletter articles based on their research
  • Construct a newsletter and present it to the class


The content of this lesson will reflect the students' own research from the Carpenters' Hall website and other relevant sites that include information about colonial Philadelphia in the years 1774, 1775, and 1776.

Years and their key events:

  • 1774 — First Continental Congress
  • 1775 — Bonvouloir Conspiracy, Beginning of the American Revolution
  • 1776 — Pennsylvania Assembly, Declaration of Independence


Divide the class into three groups. Assign a different year to each group, either 1774, 1775, or 1776. Instruct them to research important events of that year in Philadelphia and related to Carpenters' Hall and write articles about those events. Each group should assign each member of the group one of the following jobs: 1. editing/overseer, 2. layout/editor, 3. creator of two period advertisements, 4-6. writers of articles, 7. artist. Allow the students to research their topics on the Internet and in books at the library. Make sure that no two students in a single group are writing about the same topic. Have them display their articles on a large, decorated poster board that will act as the newspaper. Encourage creativity within the project, but watch for irrelevant or incorrect information.

Grade the students according to:

  1. Participation of every group member
  2. Accuracy of content
  3. Creativity of display
  4. Spelling/grammar
  5. Relevancy of content

Have each group present its newspaper to the class, and have classmates evaluate each others' projects.

Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open free to the public daily, except Mondays (and Tuesdays in Jan. and Feb.), from 10am-4pm

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