Lesson Plan

The Boston Massacre

How the Boston United the Colonies and Sparked the Revolution

Students will be able to...

Explain the two perspectives (Colonists and British) of the Boston Massacre.  

Connect the Boston Massacre to the Intolerable Acts and Boston Tea party.

Identify bias in primary sources, specifically political cartoons. 

Social Studies
Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Warm Up

Free, Paid
Free, Paid

The teacher will show the students the following video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O05rNWygHF4

​Students will then respond to this prompt: How does this relate to what we learned yesterday about the different Acts? 

Once everyone has their response written, they will "turn & talk" to their neighbor about their idea.  

2 Lecture

Activity: Presenting

The teacher will give a brief lecture summarizing the Boston Massacre.

  • Including why the Boston Massacre took place - building tensions between colonists and GB, partly due to the Intolerable Acts (colonists did not take these well, at all).
  • Key “players” - Crispus Attucks, Capt. Thomas Preston, Paul Revere, John Adams, etc.
  • Where and when it took place - Boston, March 5, 1770
  • Summary of events. A mob of colonists provoked British soldiers, soldiers shot at colonists killing 5 colonists.

Students will take notes using lined paper. Students who struggle with note taking will have a handout (my notes) to follow along with/annotate during the lecture.  

To take notes- students will fold a lined piece of paper “hot dog” style.  On the left they will write; who, what, where, when, why, how.  On the right they will write their responses to these questions as the lecture progresses.  I will have my own notes available if students miss any of the information.

3 Political Cartoon Anaysis

The teacher will then show the students political cartoons from this event on the SmartBoard and ask students (by raising their hands) to make inferences about the images.  

The teacher will also ask students to discuss these inferences with one another.  

To keep students on task the teacher will ask specific questions (such as the ones below).

  • To encourage critical thinking and student discussion the teacher could ask the following questions:
  • Who is the intended audience? Other colonists? The British? Other colonies?
  • What is this source trying to convey to the audience?
  • Does does this cartoon have or create bias? How so?
  • What might the opposing side think about this cartoon?

As the students analyze the cartoon they will fill out their Document Analysis Worksheet

4 Exit Slip

Free, Paid

Students will respond to the exit slip question:

Were the two political cartoons we analyzed today biased? Please explain using complete sentences.