No Taxation without Representation Lesson Plan: Causes of the Revolutionary War

Submitted by: Gladys Tate

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to identify the new laws and policies imposed under King George III’s “New Colonial Policy,” which included taxation without representation. Students will describe reasons for growing tensions between colonists and England, and evaluate causes for the colonists’ movement to the Revolutionary War.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify new laws and policies under King George III's "New Colonial Policy"
  2. Describe reasons for growing tensions between colonists and England
  3. Evaluate causes for the colonists movement to the Revolutionary War

Materials:

  • Projector & computer with BrainPOP
  • Peanut M&M's (make sure you have alternative for students that are allergic to peanuts)
  • Slide close sandwich bags
  • Photocopies of BrainPOP Activity Pages for each student

Vocabulary:

Proclamation of 1763; Sugar Act; Stamp Act; Quartering Act; writs of assistance; Townshend Act; Coercive/Intolerable Act; Tea Act

Preparation:

Ask students about a week or two in advanced to bring in an individual bag of peanut M&M's with their name written on the back. Make sure you provide an alternative for students who are allergic to M&M's. Provide each student with two plastic sandwich bags. Have them write their names on each bag with a marker.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Engagement: Students will watch BrainPop Movie Causes of the American Revolution. What kind of king would you describe Moby as? Why? You can use any of the three Activity Pages before, during, or after the movie for note-taking. Students can finish for homework or revisit the movie and complete throughout the week.
  2. Explanation/Elaboration: After finishing a lesson on the French and Indian War, students will be informed that King George III decided to install his “New Colonial Policy”. Randomly pick one student to be King George III. This student will sit at the front of the classroom (a nice touch is to keep a costume crown in the classroom for that student to wear). Inform the rest of the class that they are colonists living in the 13 colonies. The “New Colonial Policy” meant: –Place the colonies under strict British political and economic control –Make the colonies respect and obey British laws –Make the colonies pay their part in maintaining the British Empire
  3. Inform students: The New Colonial Policy began with the Proclamation of 1763, where colonists were forced to move back east of the Appalachian Mountains back. The next laws passed to interrupt colonists lives were the Quartering Act and writs of assistance. After explaining these two policies, do a general survey of the class and ask them how they feel about the king right now.
  4. Exploration: Students will empty and count out their M&M’s into one of the sandwich bags (some students will have more than others, depending on their bag). The teacher will know play the role of Parliament and tax collector. Inform the students: By order of King George III a new law called the Sugar Act is in place. Each colonist must pay a tax on sugar. Place 4 M&M’s in your tax bag (the empty sandwich bag and the amount can vary depending on the teacher). Monitor the class to make sure all students are doing this. Go through each Act and tax, while explaining what it is and ask students to place M&M’s in their bags. Students will become irritated and complain that they are running out of M&M’s. Students that run out of M&M’s and who cannot pay the next tax should be placed under arrest and sent to a designated area in the class. Make sure you take up their tax bag. After you have gone through each Act, take up all tax bags. Survey how many students have any M&M’s left.
  5. Evaluation: Remind students that the purpose of colonies was to increase the wealth of the mother country. Then give all the tax bags to the student that is king. Students will be in an uproar. Have students write about how they feel as colonists about the king’s “New Colonial Policy”. Students will share their writings toward the end of class. At the end of the lesson, before students leave class. let them know that they should now know how people of that time period felt. Let them know that this was only a simulation and they do get their bags of M&M’s back (this is the reason for placing names on the bags).

Extension Activity:

Students will create a sentence strip foldable for each new law and act passed to use as a study guide and for reinforcement activities.