British Imperialism in India Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

This lesson plan, as well as resources from, can help give your discussions on the British Raj of India even more meaning and depth. After all, the colonial experience benefitted a few Indians.

Lesson Objectives

After this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Trace the history of British involvement in India
  • Compare and contrast British involvement in India to British efforts in North America


40 minutes, plus 40 minutes for the activity

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Key Terms

Students should pay special attention to these words as the video plays:

  • Sepoy Rebellion
  • Engines of Social Mobility


  • Before starting the lesson, review with students the status of the British Empire and the Indian Subcontinent. How was India being weakened by European influence? What massive loss had Britain just experienced?
  • Play the video British Rule & Nationalism in India, stopping it at the following points for discussion:
    • 1:26 - How did the Sepoy Rebellion show a lack of cultural sensitivity by the British? Also, do you think some welcomed the British? Why or why not?
    • 3:04 - So if not through religion, how did the British try to convert the Indians? How was this accomplished? What role did the engines of social mobility have to play?
    • 5:30 - How did the colonial experience in India show that Indians could never become fully British in the eyes of their Imperial masters? What do you think motivated this?

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