ALEX Lesson Plan


No Taxation Without Representation

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Michele Downey
System: Piedmont City
School: Piedmont Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33956


No Taxation Without Representation


This lesson will help students determine the causes and events leading to the American Revolutionary War.  Students will participate in a whole class "game" to understand taxes and the phrase "taxation without representation".  Then students will illustrate their views of the causes of the Revolutionary War using comic strips.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 5
United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
7 ) 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.

Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Determine the 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.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • 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.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.5.7a- Define revolution; recognize causes and events that led to the American Revolution including the Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to identify causes and events leading to the American Revolutionary War.


Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Skittles or M&Ms (any small candies)

Cups (small for colonists, larger for tax collectors, parliament, and the king)

Cards for grouping and taxation activity in Attachments

Technology Resources Needed:

Laptops, tablets, or other devices with Internet access

Projection device to show video

Comic Strip Maker (Free)






Motivation: The teacher will show the video Tea Party - Schoolhouse Rock - No More Kings

The teacher will remind students of the phrase "No Taxation Without Representation." The teacher will ask students to tell what they believe this means and how could this get the colonists into such an uproar against the King of England.  The teacher will accept responses.


Divide the students into five groups of colonists, two tax collectors, two parliamentarians, and one king.
The five groups of colonists will all be given a cup with 20 pieces of candy (Skittles or M&Ms).
The tax collectors, the parliament, and the king all have empty cups but they are bigger than the colonists' cups.  Using the cards provided in the attachments, the tax collector will draw a card for a group of colonists. The colonists will have to pay the amount on the card to the tax collector. The tax collector will then distribute the candies to the parliament and to the king. Each colony must draw a card. The students will quickly see that their candies are going to the king and parliament. The colonists may decide to refuse to pay and the tax collector can then take all the candies and throw that colony in "jail".  Each colony must draw at least two cards so that the gist of the game is understood.  The teacher can halt the game and discuss the equity or fairness of what is happening with the taxes.  The teacher will then ask what would happen if the colonists could vote on how many candies are given to the king and parliament. This allows them to understand the term "representation".

After the game, the teacher will lead the discussion by asking questions such as:
Do you think the colonists should have paid the taxes? Why or why not?
Do you think the British government could have done anything differently to resolve the issues?
What could/should the colonists have considered when they were asked to pay these taxes on services that the British government was providing?


The teacher will ask students to create a comic strip illustrating their view of the causes of the American Revolutionary War.  The comic strip must include the British government and the colonists during this time period and students must use appropriate content and provide some evidence as the basis for their thinking (Comic Strip Maker).

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Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed using the comic strip rubric in attachments.


Students can print pictures from the internet of key events leading to the American Revolution and create a collage.


Students may need to be paired with a peer for additional assistance.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.