Social Studies
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Topic or Unit of Study:

Boston Tea Party

Grade Level:

CA- California K-12 Academic Content Standards
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Subject : History & Social Science
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Grade : Grade Five
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Area : United States History and Geography: Making a New Nation
Students in grade five study the development of the nation up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students learn about the colonial government founded on Judeo-Christian principles, the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the English traditions of self-government. They recognize that ours is a nation that has a constitution that derives its power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, that once sanctioned slavery, that experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants, and that experienced a westward movement that took its people across the continent. Studying the cause, course, and consequences of the early explorations through the War for Independence and western expansion is central to students’ fundamental understanding of how the principles of the American republic form the basis of a pluralistic society in which individual rights are secured.

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Sub-Strand 5.5: Students explain the causes of the American Revolution.
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external image 2_3_maroon_box.gif Standard 1: Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts)

Lesson Summary:
Previous to this lesson, the students will have studied the early conflicts between the colonies and Britain (such as taxation without representation). They will already be able to describe the multiple ways the colonists resisted the unwanted British policies. This part of the unit focuses on how the Boston events increased tensions between the colonists and the British, specifically the Boston Tea Party. The teacher will read aloud the poem to the entire class and discuss unknown words/phrases. Then the students will analyze the poem and perform the poem in groups. After the presentations, there will be a class discussion on the meaning, using teacher made discussion questions.

Lesson Objectives:

Students will understand the following:
1. Taxation of the American colonists by the British led to the revolution.
2. All eras have protest poetry or songs.
3. We can perform and analyze old literature.

Time Allotment and context:

This lesson will take place early in the middle of the unit and will take the entire time alloted for social studies, approximately 60 minutes.

Instructional Format/ Model:
1. As preparation for this project, students should have a basic understanding of the facts and the meaning of the historical incident we refer to as the Boston Tea Party—especially, an understanding of the tax on the tea exported to the colonies.

2. Tell students they will participate in or analyze a performance of an 18th-century poem (actually, a song originally) and then discuss its meaning and craft. Make the following text (by anonymous authors) available to students as an overhead projection, as photocopies, or by another means. Then read the poem aloud to the class.

3. After reading through the text once for your class, decide if students need definitions for the following words and expressions:
Line 8,pence: British money, roughly considered a penny in the United States but not a totally negligible amount in the 18th century
Line 11,shan’t: old contraction for shall not
Line 14,quoth: old form for quoted or said
Line 20,budget of tea: a quantity for a particular use
Line 28,conveyed: transported
Line 30,bouncing: lively
Line 31,boiling: angry
Line 34,’tis: it is, it’s
Line 34,when ’tis steeped quite enough: when the tea leaves have released sufficient flavor into the water

4. - Give a small group of students time to plan and rehearse an oral interpretation of “Revolutionary Tea.” Teach or review with these students the fundamentals of oral interpretation of literature.
- The group might begin by individually reading the poem silently and then aloud.
- The group must think about and discuss the meaning of the poem as well as its craft: sound (repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme), language (word choice, imagery, figurative language), and form (stanza division).
- Based on initial thoughts about meaning and craft, the group must decide who will read which lines during the presentation. Will only one student read? Two in unison? All in unison? Will the students share the reading by stanza?
- During rehearsals, students should mark up the poem to indicate where to pause, where to place emphasis, where to change tone and pacing.
- Assure students that it is not unusual to make revisions in oral presentation during the rehearsal period.
- The oral presentation cannot just start. One of the students should write and speak an introduction. The student should try to catch the audience’s attention with the introduction and be clear where the introduction ends and where the poem itself begins.
- Advise students to stand when they read from their marked-up poems, to speak slowly and clearly enough for the audience to absorb the poem, and occasionally to make eye contact with the audience.

5. After the group performs, begin a whole-class discussion of the poem and its meaning using the folowing discussion questions:
1. Who does the "old lady" represent? Who does the " daughter" represent?
2. How do you think the actions of the British Parliament affected the colonists? What were the colonists’ responses to those actions? Who do you think was more justified in their actions, the colonists or Parliament? Support your answer with specific examples.
3. Debate the decision of General Howe in ordering the British Army to march to Concord to seize munitions. What other choices could General Howe have made?
4. Analyze what effects the Boston Massacre had on the people of the colonies. Explain how this could have contributed to cause the American Revolution.
5. Compare and contrast British soldiers and colonial soldiers. Discuss to what extent their differences or similarities might have had an impact on the outcome of the war.
6. Analyze why some colonists remained loyal to the king while others rebelled against him.
7. Debate the Continental Congress’ choice for commander of the army. Based upon his military record, was he the best person for the job?

6. Proceed to make sure students realize the poem is biased: It is not simply a factual presentation of the two sides involved in the Boston Tea Party but, rather, takes the side of the rebelling colonists by making the “old lady” seem wealthy when, in fact, the British crown was experiencing financial problems. The anonymous writers also make the crown sound horrific (“She’d half whip her life away”) and the colonies sound innocent and witty (“bouncing girl”; “when ’tis steeped quite enough”)—oversimplified representations.

Student Grouping:

For part of the lesson the students will be working individually, but the majority of it will be a group of 5-6 students.

Differentiated Instruction:
Not all students are expected to present their version of the poem, so the EL students who do not feel comfortable speaking in front of the class can participate in the preperation and discussion following their group presentation.

- Social Studies textbook
- Print out of the poem "Revolutionary Tea":

There was an old lady lived over the sea
And she was an island queen.
Her daughter lived off in a new country
With an ocean of water between.
5 The old lady’s pockets were full of gold
But never contented was she,
So she called on her daughter to pay her a tax
Of three pence a pound on her tea,
Of three pence a pound on her tea.

10 “Now, mother, dear mother,” the daughter replied,
“I shan’t do the thing you ax.
I’m willing to pay a fair price for the tea,
But never the three-penny tax.”
“You shall,” quoth the mother, and reddened with rage,
15 “For you’re my own daughter, you see,
And sure ’tis quite proper the daughter should pay
Her mother a tax on her tea,
Her mother a tax on her tea.”

And so the old lady her servant called up
20 And packed off a budget of tea;
And eager for three pence a pound, she put in
Enough for a large family.
She ordered her servant to bring home the tax,
Declaring her child should obey,
25 Or old as she was, and almost full grown,
She’d half whip her life away,
She’d half whip her life away.

The tea was conveyed to the daughter’s door,
All down by the ocean’s side,
30 And the bouncing girl poured out every pound
In the dark and boiling tide;
And then she called out to the island queen,
“Oh, mother, dear mother,” quoth she,
“Your tea you may have when ’tis steeped quite enough
35 But never a tax from me,
But never a tax from me.”

You can evaluate both the oral presentation and the class discussion.

Use the following three-point rubric for oral presentation:
Three points:expressive reading; lines intelligently divided among group members; voices significantly loud and clear
Two points:less-than-adequate expression in reading; lines well divided; voices adequately loud and clear

One point:inexpressive reading; inadequate division of lines; voices not loud and clear enough

Class discussion
Make notes about students’ ability to treat one another respectfully and participate but not monopolize.