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Taxation without Representation

Time Frame:
5 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:


Students will learn about the Boston Tea Party, how taxes impact people's lives and where tax money goes.

Enduring Understanding: Students will understand the roles of the events leading up to The Declaration of Independence by the United States.

Essential Questions:

  • What factors lead to the Boston Tea Party?
  • What role did taxation play in the early colonies?

Main Curriculum Tie:
Social Studies - 5th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Describe how the movement toward revolution culminated in a Declaration of Independence.



Web Sites

  • Boston Tea Party
    Go to eMedia, show the video Liberty's Kids - The Boston Tea Party.

Background For Teachers:
The teacher will need an understanding of the taxes imposed on the America Colonies, knowledge of the Boston Tea Party and various protests about the taxes being imposed.

It is helpful if there is a classroom money system in place that can be used throughout this lesson.

Web Sites

Student Prior Knowledge:
Students need to have an understanding of what taxation means and what it involves. Who imposed the taxes and why.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students will have an understanding of the end result of taxation and how it contributed to the increased need for independence.

Instructional Procedures:

Day One: The students begin the week with a set amount of money that is their weekly income.

About midway through the class period announce that there is now a new tax system in place. For example, to go to the bathroom it will now cost the normal amount plus a two cent tax. Do the same for various classroom activities (pencil sharpening, tissues).

During this first day go to the Boston Tea Party website (see attached) and play the game about the events leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Use this activity to complete a class KWL chart- set aside.

Day two: Put the students into small groups. At each table have an Investigators Folder filled with information about different events leading up to the Boston Tea Party. They must research information on their topic.

Day three: Allow some time for research and finalizing all the information gathered. Now as a class try to put the events in order.

Day four: watch the video from eMedia (see attached) about the Tea Party.

Allow each student to pick a person whose point of view they can support or relate to (king, colonists, merchants). Allow time to think and organize thoughts. Put questions to the students, such as, how do taxes affect people? Where does tax money go? Who won or lost during these events?

Day five: Present a summary of their paper.

***Make sure that throughout the week the taxes are imposed on the students, without increasing their income. Have them keep track of how the taxes have effected their financial status, this information could be used in their final paper.


Web Sites

  • Boston Tea Party
    A game of questions that check your knowledge of the events leading to the Revolutionary War.

Assessment Plan:
This assessment will require students to write a persuasive essay, a minimum of three paragraphs, explaining their point of view from a first person stance. They may be writing to the colonists or to the King.



Marty Austin
Melissa Voorhees
Karole Pickett

Created Date :
Jun 26 2009 09:25 AM