Revolutionary NJ


5th Grade Essay Contest

 Program Description:

Thomas Jefferson was revolutionary because he came up with new and inventive solutions to the problems him and his friends, family, and neighbors were facing.  He saw things that needed changing and fought to make those changes possible.  Anyone can be revolutionary even almost 250 years after the Revolutionary War.  Students are challenged to write an essay explaining to the reader how they can be revolutionary and make a difference in modern New Jersey.

The Assignment

Students begin by choosing a problem they see in New Jersey and doing some research around that problem.  Then they should begin a brainstorming process to determine the best way to help solve the problem. The problems and solutions can be large scale or small scale.  Do not limit the student’s creativity. Under your guidance, they draft, revise, and finalize a 150-250 word article.

Questions to Reflect on:
What is the problem that needs fixing?
Why is that problem important to fix?
What difference can be made?
Who does the problem affect?
When did the problem start?
Where does this problem take place?
How can someone be Revolutionary to fix it?
What are the next steps to make that possible?


At the bottom of their essay, students should provide a list of the sources that they used.  The sources do not need to be in any particular format, there should just be a list of links and/or book titles etc.  Essays will be disqualified for plagiarism.  Students should not “cut and paste” directly from online sources, but    reformulate the information into their own words.  More information about Americans who made a difference during the Revolutionary War can be found at

Contest Submission

A maximum number of seven essays per registered class may be submitted by teachers online through the Celebrate NJ! website by the pre-determined deadline.   Log in to this site to submit student work.

Essays must be at least 150 words, but not longer than 250 words (the submission form will only allow up to 3,000 characters).  All spelling and punctuation must be proofread and corrected prior to submission.  One photo, picture, or drawing – that compliments the article – should be uploaded with the text at the time of submission.  At that time students also have the opportunity to include photos of themselves that would be included in publication.  Any essays suspected of plagiarism will be disqualified from the program.  Students should not “cut and paste” directly from any sources, but reformulate the information into their own words and give credit to the sources at the end of their essay.