Discuss the Declaration

Eighth grade students are currently learning about the American Revolution and they recently engaged in a Socratic discussion about the Declaration of Independence. The students were given the quote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”

They were asked questions such as “Are all men created equal?”, “Are we guaranteed happiness?”, “What does the guarantee of ‘Life’ mean for a government?” and “Why must we be guaranteed Liberty?” Students engaged in high level conversations about what it means to be an American, the ideals our country was founded on, and whether or not these ideas are reality. The conversation sparked many to state their beliefs, while many students challenged their peers to question why they have the beliefs they do.