1) Before the experience begins the students are given characters in order to participate in the Boston Massacre Trial.
2) The students are introduced to Samuel Winthrop, the Clerk of the General Court of Massachusetts, who lays out the different roles the children will be playing, introduces the structure of the court, and summarizes what the trial is about.
3) The students meet the two councilors in charge of the trial, John Adams and Robert Treat Paine. Adams and Paine lay out arguments for and against the soldiers using witness accounts (provided by the students) and evidence.
4) The students playing the jury are given a chance to deliberate, under the guidance of their teachers, using the facts and evidence presented to determine whether the soldiers are guilty or not guilty of the crime.
5) After the verdict is read, the students discover what historically happened in the trials and there is time for a question and answer session.
- Immerse themselves in the moment of the Boston Massacre Trial by taking on the identity of the jury, magistrates, witnesses, co-councils, and people of Boston. Each identity plays a specific role in the functioning of the trial.
- Analyze the testimonies, evidence, and facts presented by the council to determine the innocence or guilt of the soldiers held responsible for the Boston Massacre.
- Use critical thinking skills to deliberate with their peers to determine the verdict.
- Reflect on their decision making and explore the reasons for their verdict.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum Virtual Field Trips:
National Social Studies Content Standards Correlation
United States History
Standards in History for Grades K-4
Topic 3: The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and
Values and the People from Many Cultures Who contributed to its
Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
Standard 4: How democratic values came to be, and how the United States
government was formed and of the nation’s basic democratic
principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the
- Explaining that the U.S. government was formed by English colonists
who fought for independence from England. (K-4 Grades)
Standards in History for Grades 5-12
United States Era 2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763) Standard 2:
How political, religious, and social institutions emerged in the English
2.A: The student understands the roots of representative government and
how political rights were defined
2.A.5: Explain the social, economic, and political tensions that led to violent
conflicts between the colonists and their governments. (7-12 Grades)
United States Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
Standard 1: The causes of the American Revolution, the ideas ad interests
involved in forging the revolutionary movement, and the reasons for
the American victory.
1.A: The student understands the causes of the American Revolution
1.A.2: Compare the arguments advanced by defenders and opponents of
the new imperial policy on the traditional rights of English people and
the legitimacy of asking the colonies to pay a share of the cost of the
empire. (5-12 Grades)
1.A.3: Reconstruct the chronology of the critical events leading to the
outbreak of armed conflict between the American colonies and
England. (5-12 Grades)
- Time, Continuity, and Change
- Power, Authority, and Governance
Available upon request for all 50 states and Washington D.C.