I Declare: Meet Thomas Jefferson

Standing in the very location where The Declaration of Independence was read in Savannah, participants learn about this important document and its author, Thomas Jefferson. Positive Character Traits of Thomas Jefferson are compared to local leaders like Tomochichi and Juliette Gordon Low.  This walking program follows in the footsteps of George Washington’s visit to Savannah in 1791 and culminates with a visit to Colonial Park Cemetery, dedicated to the Patriots of the American Revolutionary War. Inside Colonial Park Cemetery, Button Gwinnett’s memorial provides an excellent spot for students to read information texts.

Georgia Standards of Excellence 1st Grade

SS1H1: Students will read about and describe the life of historical figures in American history.

  • Includes contributions of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson.
  • Compare their everyday life (food, clothing, homes, transportation, communication, recreation) to life today.

SS1G1: Students will describe cultural/ geographic systems associated with historic figures listed.

SS1CG1: Students will describe how historic figures listed display positive character traits of fairness, respect for others/ environment, conservation, courage, equality, tolerance, perseverance, and commitment.

Essential Questions

  • Who was Thomas Jefferson and what contributions did he make in American history?
  • How does the everyday life and culture of Thomas Jefferson compare to the life of Americans today?
  • How does Thomas Jefferson exhibit positive character traits such as fairness, respect, equality and perseverance?
  • Why was the Declaration of Independence written and who were the three Georgia signers?

Essential Topical Understandings

Students will learn about the life of Thomas Jefferson, including his childhood, positive character traits and his many contributions as a politician, architect, inventor and writer of the Declaration of Independence.  They will discuss the Declaration of Independence, what it stands for and why it was written.  They will also identify Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton as the three signers from Georgia.

Key Vocabulary

Declaration of Independence, loyalist, patriot, architecture, Mount Rushmore, Monticello, taxation, colonist, liberty boys, Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clarke, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, Nathanael Greene.