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Paul Revere, Boston Massacre, and Boston Tea Party Lesson

Updated on November 7, 2015
Boston Massacre Reenactment
Boston Massacre Reenactment

This is part 2 of a 6 part hands-on unit study on the American War for Independence. Hold a tea party, act out the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party, bake a pound cake, examine the work of silversmiths, and more! My lessons are geared toward 2nd-3rd grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 14 children between the ages of 0-12. Use these fun lessons with your class, family, after school program, camp, or homeschool co-op group!

Yes, we are using modern conveniences to make our colonial cake.
Yes, we are using modern conveniences to make our colonial cake.

Introduction & Pound Cake

1. Stretch & pray. Discuss Joshua 1:6-7

2. Begin making pound cake .

(We had 4 groups of 4 children each. Each group made the below recipe and then we combined 2 of the groups' batter to each make a pound cake -- thereby making 2 pound cakes in total.)

Here is the recipe for each group:

Pound Cake

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325. Stir the baking soda into the sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together for 5 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix thoroughly. Add the flour to the creamed mixture, alternating with one egg at a time. Add the vanilla and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a well greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Things to mention while making the cakes:

-Pound cakes became popular in the 1700's.

- Why might they be called pound cakes? Original recipe: 1 pound cake flour (3-1/2 cups), 1 pound butter (2 cups), 1 pound sugar (2-1/4 cups), & 1 pound eggs (9 large).

- We have changed the recipe because we would find this cake dense and not as tasty.

- To make less dense, we add a leavener, which helps things rise. Here we're using baking soda.

- This would have been a very special treat because it used sugar instead of molasses and sugar was very expensive.

- When you mix the flour mixture into the liquid mixture, stir just until combined. Flour acts as glue (gluten). The more you stir, the thicker the gluten will become & the harder it will be for the leavener to make the cake rise.

TEACHER/PARENT 1: YOU WILL NEED: sour cream (at least 1 cup), 4 tsp vanilla, flour (at least 3 cups), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, 10 inch tube pan

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: sour cream (at least 1 cup), baking soda, flour (at least 3 cups), sugar (at least 6 cups), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, 10 inch tube pan

TEACHER/PARENT 3: YOU WILL NEED: 1 dozen eggs, 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter softened to room temperature, non-stick cooking spray for baking (the kind with flour), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer

TEACHER/PARENT 4: YOU WILL NEED: measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, and this prepared pound cake: http://www.food.com/recipe/grandmother-pauls-sour-cream-pound-cake-95315 (The pound cakes the children are making won't be done in time for us to serve them, so we'll serve your pound cake and will send home the pound cakes the kids made.)

The Founding of America Megaset
The Founding of America Megaset

This was our favorite set of DVD's on the War for Independence! My children and I loved to watch these. They have great historical reenactments that really bring this time period alive. This set comes with 14 DVD's. If you're not able to buy the entire set, you can purchase the individual DVD's separately. I think this is definitely worth purchasing!

 
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Paul Revere

[*Please note that Paul Revere's Midnight Ride will be covered in the next lesson (Lesson 3).]

3. Read about Paul Revere: And Then What Happened Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz .

4. Discuss a few facts about Paul Revere. Select a child to tape on the Massachusetts colony on the Thirteen Colonies map a miniature picture of Paul Revere that has been pasted to a small square of blue construction paper.

TEACHER/PARENT 4: YOU WILL NEED: the above paper and tape

5. As you point to each colony on your map, sing 13 Colonies Song (Tune: Yankee Doodle):

Virginia, Georgia, Delaware, and North Carolina;

Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolina.

Pennsylvania, New York,

New Hampshire and New Jersey,

Rhode Island and Connecticut:

These were the thirteen colonies!

TEACHER/PARENT 1: YOU WILL NEED: Words printed off for the children to read & sing along

6. Look at painting of Paul Revere by Copley & notice what Revere's holding. Talk about people melting down their money into silver items so it couldn't get stolen without being able to be identified and so it could be useful. A silversmith had to be well-trusted. Paul Revere was well trusted. Look at silver items & identify what has been chased, stamped, embossed with repousse or engraved.

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: various silver items

7. Paul Revere had to do things other than silversmith work to support his large family. He also made copper plate engravings like the one of the Boston Massacre. Show the picture (p. 18 from The Revolutionary War: America's Fight for Freedom by Bart McDowell) & ask about what it is showing. Compare a copper plate to a rubber stamp - the same picture can be printed over and over again. Show this using a rubber stamp on a sheet of paper. They didn’t have TV’s, radios, or computers back then. They had to print everything in newspapers and on flyers to let people know about the news and what was happening. This engraving could be put into many newspapers across the colonies to enrage the colonists against the British. This was used as propaganda. Explain what propaganda means.

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: a rubber stamp (like what children use), a piece of paper, & picture of Boston Massacre

Great Books on Paul Revere

Also look for "Paul Revere and the Bell Ringers" (Ready-to-read COFA) by Jonah Winter for a good picture book/phonics reader option!

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (Paperstar)
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (Paperstar)

This is a great picture book on Paul Revere. *If you would like a shorter picture book, try "Paul Revere and the Bell Ringers" (Ready-to-read COFA) by Jonah Winter. It is a good picture book/phonics reader option!

 
Paul Revere: Boston Patriot (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Paul Revere: Boston Patriot (Childhood of Famous Americans)

Interesting chapter book on that focuses on his childhood. It has black and white drawings about every 10 pages.

 

Boston Massacre

8. Read about Boston Massacre from pp. 14-15 in Liberty!: How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Penner. Compare this to Revere's picture.

Liberty!: How the Revolutionary War Began (Landmark Books)
Liberty!: How the Revolutionary War Began (Landmark Books)

We LOVED this book! Written in short "chapters", this book is very easy to follow. With bursts of information containing cause and effect relationships, even the youngest could see how the French and Indian War led to events which led to events which led to the American Revolution. The bold-faced captions provide additional information which, when read alone at another sitting, enhance the usefulness of the book. Even my 3 year old enjoyed this book. You can also look for the previous reprint of this book, with the title of "The Liberty Tree: The Beginning of the American Revolution."

 
Boston Massacre Reenactment
Boston Massacre Reenactment

9. (Video record this) Get dressed up & act out Boston Massacre. Teacher/Mom 1 will be in charge of directing the colonists. Teacher/Mom 2 will be in charge of directing the soldiers.

-Teacher/Mom 1 will pick 3 older children to be the people who are going to die. Quickly show them how to fall to their knees and then to fall over to the side onto the ground to look like they have died. They will act out a dying scene later in our Boston Massacre production.

-Teacher/Mom 2 will have 5 children wear read coats & hold "muskets" (nerf guns). They will be the British soldiers and will stand straight, tall, and still. Tell one of them to guard the “Customs House” (which can be a table or the podium).

-Teacher/Mom 1 will have the other children will put on tricorn hats & wigs (wigs are optional). Lay some sheets of white paper in front of them and tell them the white paper is snow. Have them crumple up pieces of paper to be snowballs.

-Direct 1 “colonial boy” (pick a younger child) to walk up to the one soldier standing guard in front of the Customs House. Tell the boy to yell "Lobsterback" & throw “snowballs” at him.

-The soldier GENTLY hits the boy with the gun.

-The boy calls for help & the colonists rush in from the left and the other British soldiers rush in from the right.

-The colonists yell nasty things at the British soldiers. Tell them to yell, "Lobster backs! Go back to England! Go home! Leave us alone!" and to throw snowballs at the soldiers.

-The soldiers will pretend to shoot 3 colonists, and they will fall down dead.

-Clean up and throw away the "snowballs" immediately!

TEACHER/PARENT 3: YOU WILL NEED: white computer paper, 3 red coats, 3 long toy guns, & other optional costumes (tricorn hats, long socks, wigs, mob caps, etc.)

More Good Boston Massacre Books

The Boston Massacre (Graphic History)
The Boston Massacre (Graphic History)

This was my boys' favorite. It tells about the Boston Massacre in a 32pp. comic book format and is historically accurate. We typically learn the same information from these books that we do in a 64-180 page chapter books!

 
For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre
For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre

If you're looking for a read aloud book, this would be a great option.

 
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Tea Party

10. Read about Boston Tea Party from pp. 16-17 in The Liberty Tree by Lucille Penner.

11. (Check for nut allergies. While the children are learning about Paul Revere, plate up the food. Each dish should have a slice of pound cake, and a large spoonful each of dried fruits and nuts. Pour the tea into the cups. While the children are working on the Boston Massacre, lay down cloth table cloths on the tables. Set the table with the tea cups, plates, forks, and napkins. If you have them, put out tea pots on the table as well.) Host a tea party for the children. Tell them that a tea party was a fun part of every day for the colonists & is still done today in England. Serve tea punch in tea cups along with pound cake & sweetmeats (dried fruits & nuts). Tell the children that during the colonial period, they would drink tea and eat sweetmeats, which are what they would call dried fruits (like raisins) and nuts. If desired, you can share a bit about etiquette such as putting the napkin in your lap, not putting your elbows on the table, not speaking too loudly, etc.

TEACHER/PARENT 4: YOU WILL NEED: refrigerated tea punch (combine 12 cups of brewed raspberry tea with 12 cups of ginger ale & then refrigerate), 10 tea cups (the real breakable kind) preferably with saucers, 10 pretty salad-size plates (the real breakable kind) preferably tea party-worthy, 10 metal forks, 10 nice napkins (cloth or the expensive disposable ones like Vanity Fair), & a fancy teapot (optional)

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: 1 pound bag of almonds, 1 big box or canister of raisins, 3 table cloths, 10 tea cups (the real breakable kind) preferably with saucers, 10 pretty salad-size plates (the real breakable kind) preferably tea party-worthy, 10 metal forks, 10 nice napkins (cloth or the expensive disposable ones like Vanity Fair), & a fancy tea pot (optional)

Joining the Boston Tea Party (The Time-Traveling Twins)
Joining the Boston Tea Party (The Time-Traveling Twins)

We loved this picture book about 2 children who travel back in time to participate in the Boston Tea Party. It includes quite a bit of historical information and adds in notes to correct commonly mistaken beliefs about the event.

 
You Wouldn't Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party!: Wharf Water Tea You'd Rather Not Drink
You Wouldn't Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party!: Wharf Water Tea You'd Rather Not Drink

My children really enjoy this series that places you, the reader, as a participant in this event and includes plenty of educational information. My children especially enjoy the frequently comical illustrations.

 
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Boston Tea Party & Review

12. Read Joining the Boston Tea Party by Diane Stanley.

13. Go outside and collect leaves in shoe boxes to act as "tea chests." Alternatively, you can simply use 100-count boxes of tea bags.

TEACHER/PARENT 1: YOU WILL NEED: shoe boxes

(*Historical note: Tea was actually sold in bricks of dried tea leaves and you'd chisel off a section to brew, but we're being historically inaccurate and pretending the tea leaves were loose tea leaves.)

14. Have a few moms go around and paint the faces of children whose parents are willing to let them get painted. 3 lines of each cheek should be sufficient. Have someone else pass out 2 feathers to each child. While all that is going on, have the children draw on their headbands. They will tape 2 feathers to the inside of the headband. A mom will staple the headband around their head. Tell them that they are now the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Native Americans/Indians.

TEACHER/PARENT 2: YOU WILL NEED: 1 strip of paper cut into 15x2 inch strip per child, 2 feathers per child, staplers, tape, black & red face paint

15. (Video record this) Boston Tea Party: (Ahead of time lay 3 large boxes outside in the parking lot. Equally divide up the boxes of tea among the 3 box “ships.”) Dramatize the Boston Tea Party: First explain to the children what they are going to do (you can use the script below) and then have the children act it out.

-Samuel Adams will give the secret signal. He will repeat after me, "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country." (Pick a child to didn’t get his face painted to be Samuel Adams. Replace his headband with a tricorn hat.) In real life Samuel Adams didn’t actually go on the ships and dump out the tea, but we’ll let [child’s name] go on board the ship after acting like Samuel Adams.

-At that point all of you, who are the Sons of Liberty, will then quietly march outside. The entire time everyone was silent because they didn’t want to arouse the attention of the British soldiers, and they didn’t want anyone to hear their voice and be able to identify who they were.

-We are all going to quietly march outside to where the boxes are. We’re going to pretend those boxes are the ships in the Boston harbor. Inside those boats will be “chests” filled with tea. I’m going to QUIETLY divide you up into 3 groups. I’m going to give one of you a broom.

-You will march on board of your assigned ship, dump out the tea onto the pavement (that we’ll pretend is the water of the Boston Harbor), and depart, pulling out your pockets as you silently march away to show you didn't steal any tea. The person I give the broom to will sweep up the ship to make sure it’s tidy and to make sure that no tea is left on board.

TEACHER/PARENT 3: YOU WILL NEED: 3 large boxes, 3 brooms or sticks that can be used like brooms

16. 5 Minute Review of what we learned. Ask questions such as: Who can name one of the colonies? Which city or colony did we learn about today? (Boston, Massachusetts) Who was Paul Revere? What did he do as his job? (silversmith) What happened during the Boston Massacre? What did people sometimes eat at tea parties? What happened at the Boston Tea Party? Who gave the signal for everyone to march out to the ships? (Samuel Adams)

The Boston Tea Party (Graphic History)
The Boston Tea Party (Graphic History)

We love this series that is presented in comic book (graphic) style but provides plenty of historically accurate information. These books are usually the first ones my children will want to read when I pull out the basket of books on a particular topic.

 
Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party

This describes the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party in a "The House That Jack Built" style. It includes mice at the bottom of the page that explain each action and event in more detail.

 

Joke: What kind of tea did the American colonists thirst for?

Liberty!

Material List for the Lesson

*Everyone needs to bring per child:
-dressy clothing (optional) We will be having a tea party during our co-op. If your child would like to dress up for the tea party, that might make it more enjoyable for them. If you would like for your child to dress up, they can come to co-op dressed up or you can bring dressier clothing that they can quickly pull on for that activity.
-silver that can be shown to the children (spoons, pitchers, bowls, etc.). Especially look for pieces that have been chased, stamped, embossed with repousse or engraved (optional)
-tricorn hat or pirate hat
-white “wig” & the ribbon (optional - if your child would be willing to wear it again)
-red coat, jacket, or sweater (1 per family)
-1 long gun to be used as a musket (such as a big water gun or Nerf gun) (1 per family) (Please keep these away from the children until it is time to use them for our Boston Massacre dramatization.)
-1 strip of paper cut into a 15x2 inch strips that will be made into a headband
-markers
-stapler (1 per family – optional)
-scotch tape (1 per family)
-100 count box of tea bags (We will be dumping these out on the ground outside. If you’d prefer, you can instead fill a shoebox-sized box with dried tree leaves.)

*Items to be assigned to individuals to bring for the group:
-Books: And Then What Happened Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz, The Liberty Tree by Lucille Penner, & Joining the Boston Tea Party by Diane Stanley
-sour cream (at least 1 cup), 4 tsp vanilla, flour (at least 3 cups), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, 10 inch tube pan
-sour cream (at least 1 cup), baking soda, flour (at least 3 cups), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, 10 inch tube pan
-1 dozen eggs, 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter softened to room temperature, non-stick cooking spray for baking (the kind with flour), measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer
-measuring cups & spoons, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, hand-held mixer, and this prepared pound cake: http://www.food.com/recipe/grandmother-pauls-sour-cream-pound-cake-95315
-a miniature picture of Paul Revere and tape
-painting of Paul Revere by Copley
-a rubber stamp (like what children use), a piece of paper, & picture of Boston Massacre
-40 sheets of white paper (the kids will be crumpling them up into paper balls)
-refrigerated tea punch (combine 12 cups of brewed raspberry tea with 12 cups of ginger ale & then refrigerate), 10 tea cups (the real breakable kind) preferably with saucers, 10 pretty salad-size plates (the real breakable kind) preferably tea party-worthy, 10 metal forks, 10 nice napkins (cloth or the expensive disposable ones like Vanity Fair), & a fancy tea pot (optional)
-1 pound bag of almonds, 1 big box or canister of raisins, 3 table cloths, 10 tea cups (the real breakable kind) preferably with saucers, 10 pretty salad-size plates (the real breakable kind) preferably tea party-worthy, 10 metal forks, 10 nice napkins (cloth or the expensive disposable ones like Vanity Fair), & a fancy tea pot (optional)
-2 feathers per child, black &/or red face paint (we used washable finger paint), & baby wipes (for cleaning off the face paint)
-3 large boxes and 3 brooms

Ready for the next lesson?

Singing the Declaration of Independence using a quill pen and homemade ink from Lesson 3: Lexington and Concord, Thomas Jefferson, and Declaration of Independence Lesson
Singing the Declaration of Independence using a quill pen and homemade ink from Lesson 3: Lexington and Concord, Thomas Jefferson, and Declaration of Independence Lesson

Make tricorn hats and mob caps, "brew" root beer with Samuel Adams, hold a tea party as you study the Boston Tea Party, reenact the Battles of Lexington and Concord, make ink and quill pens in order to sign the Declaration of Independence, cook hasty pudding, drill with Baron von Steuben as you study Valley Forge, write a secret code and seal it with wax as you study Benedict Arnold, present on the people of the American War for Independence, and more during this exciting unit study!

  • King George III, Patrick Henry, & Samuel Adams Lesson - This is part 1 of a 6 part hands-on unit on the American War for Independence. Make tricorn hats and mob caps, “brew” root beer with Samuel Adams, bake cornmeal molasses rolls, and more!
  • Paul Revere, Boston Massacre, and Boston Tea Party Lesson - This is part 2 of a 6 part hands-on unit study on the American War for Independence. Hold a tea party, act out the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party, bake a pound cake, examine the work of silversmiths, and more!
  • Lexington and Concord, Thomas Jefferson, and Declaration of Independence Lesson - This is part 3 of a 6 part hands-on unit study on the American War for Independence. Make tin can lanterns, reenact the Battles of Lexington and Concord, make ink and sign the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen, eat ice cream with Thomas Jefferson, and more!
  • George Washington, Battle of Trenton, & Betsy Ross Lesson - This is part 4 of a 6 part hands-on unit study on the American War for Independence. Make powder horns, cook hasty pudding, reenact the crossing of the Delaware and Battle of Trenton, paint the first American flag, and more!
  • Benjamin Franklin, Battle of Saratoga, & Valley Forge Lesson - This is part 5 of a 6 part hands-on unit on the American War for Independence. Build “dragoon pistols,” drill with Baron von Steuben, cook and eat firecakes, experience cold feet at Valley Forge, reenact the Battle of Saratoga, and more!
  • Battle of Yorktown, Benedict Arnold, Swamp Fox, & John Paul Jones Lesson - This is part 6 of a 6 part hands-on unit on the American War for Independence. Make drums, write a secret code and seal it with wax, make and eat hominy, act out the battles of Bonhomme Richard, Cowpens, and Yorktown, and more!
  • American Revolution Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 6 part hands-on unit on the American Revolution. We had a colonial-themed dinner and the children each dressed up as a famous person from the American Revolution time period and presented on him/her. Also included are the field trips we attended while studying this unit.
  • The Constitution and President George Washington Lesson - This a hands-on lesson plan on the the Constitution and President George Washington. Dance a minuet, cook and eat Nelly's Hoecakes, go on a “fox hunt,” make a Constitution tree, and more! This lesson follows my 6 part unit on the American War for Independence.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.

Schoolhouse Rock's No More Kings - This is a cute cartoon with a catchy tune that includes the Boston Tea Party

Konos Volume II
Konos Volume II

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys!

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

Would You Have Participated in the Boston Tea Party? - Or just leave me a note. I love getting feedback from you!

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    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      Very creative ideas for teaching about the Boston Tea Party. I loved the idea of using fall leaves to represent the tea thrown into the Boston Harbor.

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 5 years ago

      I like to think I would have been brave enough to stand up against what I believed to be unjust, but I'm very glad that I don't know for sure. :)

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      Excellent Lens.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 5 years ago

      I wish I have the courage to do at least one unit study. I do look up to parents who are doing this. Great lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The book "The Liberty Tree" has been republished under this title: "Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began." It is a great book that I found at our library. It also is available for $8.99 at Amazon.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you! I updated my information on that book.

    • jmchaconne profile image

      jmchaconne 3 years ago

      Nice work!

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 3 years ago from Florida

      @jmchaconne: Thank you so much!

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