Grade: Elementary

#1526. Taxation Without Representation

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Jan 20 09:34:38 PST 2000 by Allison Bittner (
Bittner's Classroom Page
Anderson School Dist. 1 (Wren), Piedmont, SC
Materials Required: Play Money, Student Journal
Activity Time: one week
Concepts Taught: Revolutionary War, Value of Money, Freedom, Colonization, Independence

In this unit students will gain an understanding of what the colnial Americans went through to start a new country and gain their independence from Great Britian. To begin the lesson they were gathered onto my rug area in my classroom and asked to imagine the conditions of passage from Britian. We visualized how long it took and the peril that was involved in this. We discussed how it was worth it so as to gain our religious freedom. The students were then given the same sum of play money and asked to count it and keep a running tab of what was taken and gained. I then began to impose taxes. In my room the students have input on the rules and how they are inforced, so they agreed they had a say in the "LAWS" of the room. I had them pay taxes for things like the use of text books, desks, colored pencils, restroom etc. The second day I imposed taxes for things like talking and declared that the materials they commonly used were off limits (colored pencils etc.). To show the cruelty that the settlers put up with, I would not let them do things if they had run out of money and couldn't pay for it. I made them indentured servants to pay their dept to me. The students journaled about their feelings each day and we discussed what was going on. After they discussed that they were angry and going "broke", they started to discuss what they could do. We read the Declaration of Independexe and talked about why that was written. Then, the students were divided into small groups to write a document to ask for their freedom from my rule and taxes. As we study the war and constitution we refer back to their thoughts and feelings under my rule and my taxes. When the constitution is discussed and laws written by the states, the small groups do this together as well, this gives them knowledge of what the original law makers encountered with special interests and the other aspects that influence governmental policy.