Experience the Boston Tea Party! Lesson Plan


Lesson Objectives

-         The students will be able to explain what happened at the Boston Tea Party.

-         The students will be able to explain the significance of the Boston Tea Party in relation to the Revolutionary War.

-         The students will be able to explain how the participants in the Boston Tea Party felt.

-         The students will be able to explain the meaning of “taxation without representation”.


Advanced Assignment

-         Have the students read the section in the textbook that includes discussion of the Boston Tea Party and “taxation without representation”.



-         Textbook

-         Construction paper

-         Markers of various colors



-         Before class, take a trustworthy student aside and tell him/her that when you give a signal, he/she is to get up and toss the paper and markers you have on your desk out the window. If the window is not a good idea in your particular building, you can use the trashcan instead.


-         Begin class by telling the students that today they are going to represent the Boston Tea Party artistically.


-         Tell the students they will need a piece of construction paper and as many markers as they need in order to complete the assignment.


-         Continue by explaining that you bought the paper and markers yourself, so you need to charge money for the materials. It will be $.50 for a piece of paper and $.25 for every marker. This should cause quite a stir in the class.


-         Wait a little while for the students to get really mad that you are charging them to do their schoolwork properly.


-         Give the prearranged signal to the student.


-         Settle the class down by telling them that this was all arranged.


-         Begin a class discussion using the questions listed below.


Discussion Questions

-         How did you feel when I told you I was going to “tax” you for the supplies?


-         Did anyone consider refusing to pay for the supplies?


-         How did you feel when you saw (insert name of student) throw the supplies out the window?


-         If (insert name of student) had asked you, would you have helped participate? Why or why not?


-         If you would have refused to help (insert name of student), would you tell me (the teacher) of the plan?


-         Did you feel that throwing the supplies out the window was wrong?


-         Is it OK to do something that you believe is wrong if it is in response to something you feel is worse?


-         How was this event similar to the events of the Boston Tea Party? How was it different?


-         How do you feel about the king taxing the people of the colonies without giving them any representation in the government?


-         Do you think the participants of the Boston Tea Party were justified in committing this act?



For a lesson such as this, an essay would work the best to assess what the students gained from this lesson. Below are several ideas:


-         Assign an essay describing the feelings that the participants of the Boston Tea Party had in regards to the taxation by the king without giving them proper representation.


-         Assign an essay describing the events that happened earlier in the class. Have them tell how this event gave them a deeper understanding of the Boston Tea Party.


-         Assign an essay describing a solution other than throwing the supplies out the window. Could a similar solution be found to solve the problems that led to the Boston Tea Party?