Lesson Title Causes of the American Revolution Teacher

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Lesson Title

Causes of the American Revolution


Ashlee Newton

Grade Level


Duration of Lesson

3 45min. class sessions

Lesson Topic

The topic of this lesson is the causes of the American Revolution.

SC Standards and Indicators

4-3.1 Explain the major political and economic factors leading to the American Revolution, including the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and Intolerable Acts as well as American resistance to these acts through boycotts, petitions, and congresses.

Common Core Strategy(ies) addressed

The students will research to find information about their topic.

The students will compile an argumentative essay defending their interpretation of a guiding question.

The students will analyze documents.

Academic Vocabulary

Parliament, Stamp Act, Committees of Correspondence, boycott, tariff, petition, Sons of Liberty, Daughters of Liberty, monopoly, Tea Act, Coercive Acts, Intolerable Acts, Boston Tea Party, monopoly, Continental Congress, independence, Loyalist, Patriot

Lesson Materials Needed (attached at end of lesson)

Student copy of Content Narrative, Student writing paper and essay set up help page, Quiz for assessment purposes

Content Narrative

(What is the background information that needs to be taught to understand the context of the lesson? Be sure to include necessary citations)

The British have found victory against the French declaring the Ohio River Valley theirs. The costliness of battle has left British Parliament to begin excising taxes against the Colonists stating that the battle was fought for their lands. Previous to this time Colonists have been governing and taxing themselves and the British have paid them no mind.

England’s first serious enforcement of taxes came with the Stamp Act which put a tax on legal documents and newspapers. Instead of adding the tax into the total of your purchase you paid the tax directly. This caused great notice among the Colonists and led to the Stamp Act Congress. This group organized a boycott of British goods and petitioned King George III leading to a repeal of this tax, but only more problems would follow.

The cry resounded, “No taxation without representation.” In truth the Colonists did not want a representative at Parliament knowing they would still be outvoted in any of these matters. Colonists organized into groups such as the Sons/Daughters of Liberty to boycott and protest. But is this not treason? One onlooker thought so and shouted it at Patrick Henry during one of his speeches at an assembly, but Mr. Henry only replied, “If this be treason, make the most of it.”

Recently things have reached a desperate state. The Tea Act which was not a tax, but gave the British East India Company a monopoly, exclusive rights, to tea sales in our colonies. This further angered many and led to what they are calling the Boston Tea Party. Sons of Liberty boarded a ship in Boston and threw the English tea overboard.

Parliament answered this defiance with the Coercive Acts, called by colonists the Intolerable Acts. Boston harbor was closed. Parliament took away Massachusetts’s self-governance away. British Parliament determined to force, or as they said “coerce,” the colonists into paying for the ruined tea and recognizing that they had the right to make and exercise these taxes as they saw fit.

The colonists continued to organize and plan. Committees of Correspondence formed to help communicate what was occurring to others in neighboring areas. Representatives of the colonies met together in what they called a Continental Congress. They determined to petition the King and boycotted any trade with Great Britain. Knowing what was stirring they encouraged colonists to be armed and ready.

All around you the beginnings of a battle are readying themselves. Some colonists have pledged their allegiance to England calling themselves Loyalists. Others adamant that we must have independence from the mother country are calling themselves Patriots. Patrick Henry said, “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

*Attached is a student copy of this

Lesson Set

Content Objective(s)

The students will evaluate primary sources and create a paper defending either the Loyalists or Patriots.

Literacy Objective(s)

The students will research and evaluate documents. Students will compile an argumentative essay.

Lesson Importance

This lesson provides background for upcoming standards about the American Revolution and the development of our nation’s government. It provides the reasoning for the start of the American Revolution. It also provides students with skills to evaluate documents.

Connections to prior and future learning

This lesson provides integral information for the upcoming topics of the American Revolution and the building of our new nation and government. It connects earlier topics about colonization of the new world and how the exploration and competition between nation-states affected the creation of allies and enemies during the American Revolution. This lesson also sets up the understanding for general relations between Great Britain and America in upcoming years.

Anticipatory Set/ Hook (Engage)

The teacher will conduct a write, pair, share about a picture of the Boston Tea Party. The class will write for one minute describing what they see in the picture and then discuss it with a partner before sharing their thoughts and ideas with the class.

Skill Development

Initial “explain” portion of the lesson. Introduce vocabulary, explain/demonstrate/model the skill required for the literacy objective, introduce content components.

The content portion is only a brief introduction; the bulk of the student learning will take place during the guided practice activity.

Introduce content components

The teacher will provide an overview of the content and build knowledge of the key vocabulary the students will need to be able to comprehend the concepts involved with the lesson.

I do”

Skill from objective


Day One- The teacher will read the background essay information with the class. I suggest the teacher first give an overview of the information. Then read each paragraph providing a summary and having students discuss the information together.

Day Two- Model how to analyze a primary source document. Choose one of the primary sources (at your discretion of which to use) to model completing the analysis sheet for. Point out how to identify the source type and where it is from. Discuss together how this might help students build their essay.

Day Three- Model how to use the information gathered from their analysis of primary sources and their background essay to build their essay.

Guided Practice

This is the inquiry portion of the lesson, student-centered & often cooperative learning strategies used, teacher acting as facilitator, also known as Explore.

We do”

Activity Description

Include student “explore” components and opportunities for them to explain their learning.

Together evaluate a primary source. Look at the source and discuss strategies for reading the information and how to find key facts that will support your thesis. Compile categories to develop into an essay defending your thesis on the guiding question.

Checking for Understanding-“Informal” Assessment

The teacher will ask guiding questions and observe what students are writing about their primary sources.


Teacher will re-visit content and answer students’ questions developed during the Guided Practice component. Summarize the lesson, clarify content, and revisit content and literacy objectives.

Content Solidified

Review pertinent facts and elaborate on portions of the standard that they may not have made connections to during their work time.

Independent Practice

You Do”

Allow students to carousel around the room evaluating primary source documents. You may need to break this up into two class sessions to provide students adequate amount of time with the sources. As students are working you should be moving from each group asking guiding questions and helping students work through analyzing the sources.

Summative/ “Formal” Assessment


Students will take a quiz (provided) to check for their understanding of the standard. They will also compile an essay defending their stance on the guiding question.


During Lesson

Pair students together as needed to assist them with the reading of the documents and compiling their analysis on the document analysis sheet. Provide transcripted versions of difficult documents when applicable.


Reduce the number of paragraphs needed in the essay for struggling students. If needed transcribe sentences for students who may have difficulty with large amounts of writing.


Lesson Reflection

(What went well in the lesson? What might you do differently the next time you teach it? Evaluate the success of the lesson)

I think the background essay provided a good deal of information. Students did not have any major difficulties understanding key vocabulary involved in the background. I would however suggest making vocabulary cards for difficult words from primary source materials. I would probably make a basket or envelope for each primary source that would include a summary and some information that would make it easier to understand the source. I would also probably transcribe any primary sources to make them visually easier to read and discern.

Materials Needed for Lesson

Lesson Materials and Handouts

Student Copy of Background Narrative

Student Writing Paper and essay set up handout



Soc. St. Quiz on Causes of the Amer. Revolution

  1. What was the cause of the French and Indian War?

  1. The French did not get along with the Indians.

  2. The British did not get along with the Indians.

  3. The French and British both claimed the land in the Ohio River Valley

  4. There wasn’t a French and Indian War.

  1. Why did Parliament begin taxing the colonist?

  1. They were being mean.

  2. They felt the colonist should pay for the cost of the French and Indian War.

  3. They needed to pay for the Revolutionary War.

  4. They needed to pay for the Civil War.

  1. Following the French and Indian War, Parliament began taxing the colonist. What was the first tax the first tax placed on the colonist?

  1. Tea Act

  2. Townshend Act

  3. Stamp Act

  4. Boston Tea Party

  1. What items did the Stamp Act tax?

  1. Newspapers and documents

  2. Tea and imports

  3. Stamps

  4. Dairy products

  1. How did the colonist protest the Stamp Act?

  1. threatening tax agents

  2. did not pay

  3. hung tax collector dolls

  4. all of the above

  1. When the colonist refused to pay the taxes, what did Parliament do?

  1. repealed it

  2. changed it

  3. nothing

  1. After repealing the Stamp Act, did Parliament give up on making the colonist pay taxes?

  1. yes

  2. no

  1. What was the main reason the colonist oppose (did not like) the taxes?

  1. They had no good reasons.

  2. It was “Taxation without representation”.

  3. They did not want to pay any taxes ever.

  4. None of the above

  1. After repealing the Stamp Act, Britain still needed money. How did they try to raise the money?

  1. The Townshend Act

  2. The Repeal Act

  3. The Sugar Bowl

  4. Creating more colonies

  1. The Townshend Act was a tariff. What is a tariff?

  1. a tax on exports

  2. a tax on imports

  3. a tax on paper

  4. a tax on everything

  1. What items did the Townshend Act tax?

  1. goods imported from England like wool and tea

  2. goods the colonist manufactured

  3. farm produce grown in the colonies

  4. goods exported to England

  1. When the Townshend Act failed, Parliament introduced the Tea Act. The Tea Act was not a tax. What did the Tea Act do?

  1. Kept the colonist from buying tea.

  2. Taxed all the colonists’ imports.

  3. Taxed tea and wool.

  4. Made the colonist buy cheap tea from the East India Tea Company.

  1. The colonist in Massachusetts protested the Tea Act. How did they protest the Tea Act?

  1. The Sons of Liberty threw all the tea in the Boston Harbor.

  2. They did not protest at all.

  3. They refused to buy the tea.

  4. All of the above.

  1. Who were the Sons of Liberty?

  1. They were a group of men that got together to protest the King and Parliaments’ taxes.

  2. They were sons of a woman named Liberty.

  3. They were a group of men that tried to collect taxes for the King.

  4. They were Britain’s’ Army.

  1. What was the Committee of Correspondence?


  1. What happened at the Boston Massacre?


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