Boston Tea Party 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 on the Boston Tea Party demonstrates to students how the slide into revolution was very gradual. At first, few colonists wanted to rebel; however, the Intolerable Acts soon changed that.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand the place of the Boston Tea Party in the events leading up to the American Revolution
  • Trace the progression from the French and Indian War to the First Continental Congress
  • Emphasize the importance of the lack of representation in the mindset of the colonies


40 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


  • Start this lesson by poising the following questions to your students. Discuss as a class.
    • Do you always like having to do things that you don't get a say in?
    • How do you act when you feel you are not being paid attention to?
  • Afterwards, review the events in America in the 15 years prior, namely the French and Indian War. Make sure that students understand that this war was not cheap for the United Kingdom to fight.
  • Start the lesson The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, & First Continental Congress, stopping it at the following points for discussion.
    • 2:53 - The British East India Company had given a lot of money to British politicians. Does this sound like the practice of lobbying today?
    • 4:57 - Why might the Quebec Act be considered such a threat to the colonies? Also, how did taking away the legislature from all colonies help unite them?
    • 6:25 - Throughout early American history, the difficulty of communication across the Atlantic has been a barrier to peace. How might things have been different had Pitt's plan made it to the colonies? Also, do you think that the colonies would have been able to gain representatives if they weren't so far away? Finally, what role did taxation play in all of this?


Break the class into several groups and ask each to prepare a short skit demonstrating some aspect of the events of 1773 and 1774. Here are some examples:

  • Pitt convincing Parliament
  • Reactions to the Boston Tea Party
  • Reactions to the Intolerable Acts
  • The British enforcing the Intolerable Acts
  • The Reaction to the Quebec Act


  • One of the proposals put forth by some colonial thinkers was to give the American colonies power to raise their own taxes, but still require that they act as if they were part of the British Empire. Discuss whether or not this would have been successful.

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