Navigation Acts Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

This lesson plan discusses the 1651 Navigation Acts passed by the British Parliament. The plan helps students to understand the Navigation Acts through a video lesson and class discussion of its finer points as well as an activity where groups of students investigate and present how the Navigation Acts impacted each colony.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the basic measures put in place by the 1651 Navigation Acts
  • Explain the pressures and situations which brought about the 1651 Navigation Acts
  • Explain the basic tenets of mercantilism
  • Explain the results of the 1651 Navigation Acts and, most importantly, how they relate to later events in colonial America


1 hour


  • poster board
  • markers and/or colored pencils

Key Vocabulary

At the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to identify and define the following vocabulary terms:

  • Navigation Acts of 1651
  • mercantilism

Curriculum Standards


Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.


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.

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