An Investigation into Shays Rebellion (FREE)

by  Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Program image

Through a simulation students will take on the roles of different individuals who played a part in the Rebellion from the Regulators (Shays and his men), State Officials, and National Officials. Using role cards students will identify the different perspectives and hold a mock trial to determine who is to blame for this rebellion. Is one party to blame or are all at fault? Engage in this simulation to spur discussion and debate among your students as they learn about this crucial event in American History.  

Program Rating

This program has not yet been evaluated.
Book it!

About This Program


By Request: $0.00



45 minutes to 1 hour

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Homeschool/Family

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

Programs are offered Wednesday thru Friday from 9am to 3pm Eastern Standard Time.

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

We request at least 48 hour notice if you are unable to commit to the set date and time for your program..

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Springfield, Massachusetts
United States

Springfield Armory was established as the Nation’s First Federal Arsenal. The Armory was a leader in the development of interchangeability, technological innovations of firearms, mechanization and specialization in precision manufacturing, and the production of small arms. Springfield Armory had numerous cultural, geographic and economic impacts on the City of Springfield and surrounding communities. 

In 1968 Springfield Armory closed and reopened in 1978 to the public as Springfield Armory National Historic Site which works to preserve and interpret the story of the nations first federal armory and its lasting impact on the United States. 

Scott Gausen

Program Details


1. The students will begin by examining a quote and think about how it relates to Shays Rebellion.
2. Students will engage in a discussion about the Articles of Confederation and the pros and cons of having a system of government where the states are stronger than the national government.
3. Students will engage in the simulation where they each take on a role during Shays Rebellion. They will then get into assigned groups and create an argument as to who is to blame for the rebellion.
4.Each group will present their argument in the mock trial and the jury will come to a conclusion.
5. The students will end the lesson with an exit ticket.


1. Identify the different parties involved in Shays Rebellion and explain their reasons for supporting or suppressing the rebellion.
2. Create an argument supporting one of the parties and defend their position in a trial.
3. Explain, using Shays Rebellion as an example, how people can create reform in Society

Standards Alignment

State Standards

Massachusetts Standards

5th Grade, Topic 2: 9. Analyze the causes of Shays’ Rebellion of 1786-1787 and explain why it was one of the crucial events leading to the Constitutional Convention
-9: Analyze the causes of Shays’ Rebellion of 1786-1787 and explain why it was one of the crucial
events leading to the Constitutional Convention.

8th Grade, Topic 2: The development of the United States government
-2: Analyze the weaknesses of the national government under the Articles of Confederation; and
describe the crucial events (e.g., Shays’ Rebellion) leading to the Constitutional Convention.

Hight School (9-12) United States History, Topic 1: Origins of the Revolution and the Constitution
-7: Explain the reasons for the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1781 and evaluate the
weaknesses of the Articles as a plan for government, the reasons for their failure and how events
such as Shays’ Rebellion of 1786-1787 led to the Constitutional Convention.