VA Statute for Religious Freedom, II. Matching Activity

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

High School

Author Info

Hugh Crumley
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Type of Lesson

Document Analysis


40 – 45 minutes


State Standards

STANDARD VUS.1a, b, c, d, e, f,h The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis, including the ability to

a) identify, analyze, and interpret primary and secondary source documents, records, and data, including artifacts, diaries, letters, photographs, journals, newspapers, historical accounts, and art to increase understanding of events and life in the United States;
b) evaluate the authenticity, authority, and credibility of sources;
c) formulate historical questions and defend findings based on inquiry and interpretation;
d) develop perspectives of time and place, including the construction of maps and various time lines of events, periods, and personalities in American history;
e) communicate findings orally and in analytical essays and/or comprehensive papers;
f) develop skills in discussion, debate, and persuasive writing with respect to enduring issues and determine how divergent viewpoints have been addressed and reconciled;
h) interpret the significance of excerpts from famous speeches and other documents.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues involved in the creation and ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America and how the principles of limited government, consent of the governed, and the social contract are embodied in it by

d) examining the significance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in the framing of the Bill of Rights.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes

In this activity, students will match sections of the original Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom with the paraphrase. This can be done in groups (or modified to be done individually.)


  1. 5 min.

    Cut apart the pdf of the Statute and the paraphrase (see the link under Related Assets below). This will give you 16 slips of paper to distribute to the students. For students in excess of 16, use one original slip for 2 students (the language is more dense than that in the paraphrase.)

  2. 5 min.

    Give the students a few minutes to read the slips. Students with the original Statute slips may require some assistance.

  3. 10 – 15 min.

    After all students are ready, instruct them to move around the room to find the slip that contains the same information as they have; if they have part of the original they will be looking for a part of the paraphrase, for example.

  4. 10 min.

    After the originals and the paraphrases have found each other, instruct the students (now in pairs) to read both versions they have and decide if the paraphrase is accurate. Ask them to decide what information they would add or remove from the paraphrase.

  5. 5 min.

    Have the students remain in these groups (originals and paraphrases), line up in order and read their part of the paraphrased version aloud.

  6. 5 min.

    Check for the correct sequence for originals and paraphrases: 1G, 2C, 3F, 4B, 5D, 6H, 7A, 8E

Related Assets

Handouts and Downloads