Actions and Reactions

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

High School

Author Info

Robyn Verbois, Penny Greene, John Heffernan

Type of Lesson


Type of Project (Individual/Group/Both)



60-90 minutes

Challenge Question

In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, Great Britain tried to recoup its financial losses by imposing taxes on the colonies. To the British, this made perfect sense: they were simply assessing the colonies to pay for Britain’s defense of the colonies. The colonists, however, did not see the logic of their position at all. You will create a chart about the actions of Britain and the colonists’ response to those acts, and then write an essay explaining both sides.


This activity asks students to analyze multiple documents, and should be implemented after lessons on the French and Indian War and the impact of taxes on the colonies (the period of 1763 to 1775). This is intended for 11th and 12th grades, but it can be modified for other grades and/or levels.


  1. Create a chart for each of the following seven (7) acts:
    Sugar Act (1764), Quartering Act (1765), Stamp Act (1765), Declaratory Act (1766), Townshend Act (1767), Tea Act (1773), Intolerable Acts (1774)
  2. Your first column should say: Britain passed the (name each act) in order to…
  3. Your second column should say: Colonists responded to the act’s passage by…
  4. Your third column should say: Britain responded to the colonists’ objections by…
  5. Go to MY COLLECTION to find information pertaining to each Act. For each Act, fill in the information that explains why the Act was passed, how the colonists’ reacted to it, and how Britain dealt with the reaction. You must click twice on each document, open it, and read it in order to do this well. Make sure you indicate what document you used in each column.
  6. After you’ve completed the chart, answer the following prompt in a well-written essay: In your own words, explain the colonists’ reaction to Britain’s assertion of authority after the French and Indian War. How did they justify this reaction? Provide four specific examples in your answer.