The Boston Massacre... Reenactment In My Class!

We are learning about the Revolutionary War- such an interesting, engaging unit for my third graders and one of my very favorite to teach. 

This is such a high interest topic and my kids always really get into it. Earlier this year I had read one of the Alvin Ho books and in it the kids play Revolutionary War at recess, so of course I have even had some kiddos playing Revolutionary War at recess!

I knew that this super simple activity would be a big hit! As we got ready for Social Studies time I asked 4 students in my classroom that were wearing red to step out into the hallway a minute. 

After I got them into the hallway, I closed the door and told them that we were going to do some acting and that since they had red shirts on they got to be the British soldiers that were collecting taxes from the colonists. When they came in the room I asked one of them to shout out something like "I'm here to collect your taxes". 

Then I left the British soldiers in the hallway and went back into the classroom to prep the colonists. We had a quick refresher of why the colonists were angry with the soldiers. With the remaining kids in the room, I designated some of them as the crowd that is gathered to watch what is happening and then I designated the rest to be a group of angry colonists that are to begin yelling at the soldiers.Then I reveal the interactive part... 

...the sticks and snowballs that the colonists are to begin throwing at the soldiers! The angry colonists each grabbed a few construction paper sticks or snowballs and I called the British soldiers into the room. 

The reenactment began and as soon as the colonists had thrown their snowballs and sticks (you should have seen the surprised looks on the soldiers' faces), I STOPPED the action before the soldiers could start throwing things back. 

When I stopped the action, I asked the class what they thought would happen next. The kids guessed that the soldiers might throw things back or even shoot since they would have weapons (we DID NOT act out this part) and I confirmed that was correct. We discussed how quickly the situation got out of control and how this event contributed to the tensions between the Patriots and Britain. 

The kids really got into this activity and I hope that it made a lasting memory for them as we continue our study of the history of our country's beginnings.

If you are teaching about the American Revolution and are looking for additional materials- you might want to check these out...

Take care-

1 comment

  1. I love your idea! It is simple, yet so effective. I'm going to give it a try next year when I cover this in my classroom. Thanks for sharing.


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