Pacific Region

Captured and Imprisoned: the Fate of the Schooner Dolphin

Teaching Activities

Time Allowance: 2 class periods

Concepts/Topics Included: American Revolution, Lafayette, Yorktown, prisoners, schooners, troop and ship movements

Standards Addressed

General Goal(s):

Students will understand the experiences and importance of individuals during the war with relationship to the Battle of Yorktown.

Specific Objectives:

  • Students identify the situation, activities, and significance of schooner surveillance in the Chesapeake Bay during the Revolution.

  • Students judge the significance of Lafayette and his part in the battle of Yorktown.

  • Students pose relevant questions about the events and individuals they encounter in the historical documents.

Materials for Lesson:

Teaching Activities – Step-by-Step Procedure

(First Class Period)

Into (Anticipatory Set, Lead-in): Background (10-15 minutes)

  • Students will have studied the major events of the American Revolution
  • Using the PowerPoint, part 1 powerpoint presentation, provide (and review) the setting, the time, and the location (approximately 10 minutes)

  • Discuss vocabulary, as appropriate, especially the meaning of pension, primary and secondary sources, and "true copy."

Through: Document analysis, questions to answer (20 minutes)

  • Provide copies for each student (or group of students) of
  • The worksheet can be an in-class or homework activity.

  • Students can work together or independently to answer questions about the George Barber documents. Perhaps give them the original to work with for a while before giving them the transcription. This could be used to illustrate the frustration that historians often have when working with original documents.

  • Groups of three, four, or five would work well. One or two students could find the answers in the transcription, another (or two) could find and circle the answers in the handwritten document, and another could record the answers on the worksheet.

(Second Class Period)

  • Review answers to questions about document, using PowerPoint, part 2 powerpoint presentation

  • Provide follow-up context, continuing PowerPoint, part 2 – what happened to each character, end with Battle of Yorktown (total 10+ minutes)

Beyond: Visual Response, Assessment

  • After learning about George’s story, the students will create an illustration of one of the events.

  • Possible extensions

Closure: Class Discussion

  • Speculation: What might have happened if Lafayette had been captured while on the schooner Dolphin? Would the end of the war been different? Could the end have happened at a different time and place?

Possible Cross-curricular Correlations:

  • Language Arts: writing

  • Art: drawing

Created by Martha Wallace for the National Archives, Pacific Region, San Francisco

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