A Step Into the Boston Massacre

Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Subject Area

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
Social Studies




In this lesson, the students will learn about the Boston Massacre and how this event led to the American Revolution. The students will understand that when governments are unjust, sometimes people revolt. The students will compare and contrast the two sides of the American colonists in the 1770’s, “Colonists Should Fight the British for Independence” versus “Colonists Should Not Fight the British for Independence.” In addition, the students will create a web video on one event that led to the American Revolution. This lesson is designed to integrate technology, such as WeVideo, with social studies.

Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 5


Determine causes and events leading to the American Revolution, including the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Intolerable Acts, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party.



  • cause
  • effect
  • revolution
  • intolerable


Students know:
  • The effects of the French and Indian War.
  • The Stamp Act enraged the citizens of the colonies and was the origin of the phrase "No Taxation with Representation".
  • The Intolerable Acts were enacted to punish the Boston colonists for the Boston Tea Party.
  • The Boston Massacre was a result of conflict between the British soldiers and angry colonists.
  • The Boston Tea Party was the colonists' response to taxes on tea.


Students are able to:
  • Explain why colonies were engaged in the French and Indian War.
  • Describe and evaluate how colonists reacted to the Stamp Act.
  • Describe the effects of the Intolerable Acts.
  • Describe the Boston Massacre and analyze colonists response to the Boston Massacre.
  • Describe the Boston Tea Party and examine the effects of this event.


Students understand that:
  • The causes and effects of events that lead to the American Revolution.

Primary Learning Objectives

The students will be able to:

  • Distinguish the differences between "Liberty" and "Monarchy" using a Venn Diagram.
  • Identify and distinguish the different views of the two sides of the American Colonists in the 1770s.
  • Understand how to create an educational video using a technological tool.


Before Activity

1.) Begin the lesson by reading the following quote to the students from Dr. Joseph Warren:

Charles Hobby, a Boston laborer- "Between the hours of nine and ten o’clock, being in my master’s house, was alarmed with the cry of fire, I ran down as far as the town-house, and then heard that the soldiers and the inhabitants were fighting in the alley… I then left them and went to King Street. I then saw a party of soldiers loading their muskets about the Custom-house door, after which they all shouldered. I heard some of the inhabitants cry out, 'heave no snowballs,' others cried 'they dare not fire.'"

After you have read the quote, tell the students to do think-pair-share to discuss why the colonies wanted independence from Britain. What did the British government do that angered the colonists? How will snowballs be used in the Boston Massacre? Do you think many people will die during the massacre?


Now that we have learned about the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, and the Intolerable Acts, today we are going to talk about the Boston Massacre in the 1770s. All of these events led to the American Revolution.

2.) The teacher will review a timeline of the events with the students that led to the Boston Massacre using a slideshow presentation.

Optional: The PowerPoint presentation can include the  following vocabulary words:

  • Colony- a distant territory belonging to or under the control of a nation.

  • Freedom- ability to move or act freely; political independence.

  • Liberty- the condition of those who are free and independent from government control.

  • Monarchy- a state ruled by one person, such as a king, or headed by a monarch.

  • Representative- a person is chosen by popular vote to represent.

  • Tax- to require a person, a group, and a business to pay money on an item to support the government.

This website has the timeline of the Boston Massacre: http://www.john-adams-heritage.com/category/boston-massacre/

3.) The teacher will provide quotes from witnesses of the Boston Massacre. Also, the teacher will provide information to the students about King George III and how he helped contribute to the Boston Massacre.

To find the quotes and information about King George III, use these two websites:



During Activity

4.) After the discussion on the Boston Massacre, the lesson will continue by using a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the terms "Liberty" versus "Monarchy" with the students. The teacher should complete the Venn Diagram together with the students.

A sample of a completed Venn Diagram can be found here.

5.) As soon as the Venn Diagram modeled by the teacher is completed, the students will be expected to complete a Venn Diagram on their own. The students will complete a Venn Diagram on the Boston Massacre. The students will compare and contrast the two sides of the American colonists in the 1770’s, “Colonists Should Fight the British for Independence” versus “Colonists Should Not Fight the British for Independence.” The teacher will model this comparison by completing a Venn Diagram on the differences between “Liberty” versus “Monarchy.”

After Activity

6.) At the end of the lesson, the students will create a web video using the technology tool, WeVideo. The students will have the choice to choose one event that led to the American Revolution (such as the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Intolerable Acts, and the Boston Tea Party). The video should include pictures and facts and be about 2-3 minutes each. The students will each create an account on WeVideo. The students will publish their video on their account.

Students can use these search engines to find pictures and facts:


Assessment Strategies

The teacher will evaluate the student's WeVideo and their Venn Diagrams for a grade. The teacher should ensure that students distinguished the differences between "Liberty" and "Monarchy" on completed Venn diagrams and identified the different views of the two sides of the American Colonists in the 1770s in the video presentation.



Students who are familiar with how to make a web video can make an additional video on a different event that led to the American Revolution.

Total Duration

Greater than 120 Minutes


Before teaching this lesson, the students should know about the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, and the Intolerable Acts that led to the American Revolution. Having this prior knowledge will help the students as they create a web video.

A slideshow/chart should be prepared prior to the lesson that includes a timeline of the Boston Massacre and quotes from witnesses of the massacre.

The teacher can let students play around with WeVideo before they start their project (optional). 

A PowerPoint presentation can be prepared prior to the lesson with vocabulary words (optional).

Materials and Resources

Paper and pencil

Technology Resources Needed

Computer/and or laptop with internet access

Approved Date