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Grade 5 - Unit 4 - Making a New Nation

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Tax Pay Role Play

Submitted by: Shawn Gibson

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I have my students play a role playing game where they have to pay taxes just like the colonists did for the Stamp Act and Sugar Act.

I have one King, 1 Parliament, 2 tax collectors, and the rest are colonists. I give my student 20 M&Ms each. (Fake money also works). The students are given a card with their character on it. They then have to pay taxes based on wearing blue (Indigo tax), taxes on using paper (Stamp Act), and paying taxes on food if they brought their lunch today (Sugar Act). The tax collectors collect the taxes as the teachers states what has to be paid. After all the taxes are paid to the tax collector, the tax collectors have to go visit the King to give him/her half of their money (M&Ms). After paying the King, the tax collectors have to visit the Parliament and again pay the Parliament half of what they have.

Through this process, the teacher is asking them how they are feeling paying taxes to the King and how they are feeling about the Tax Collectors and the Parliament throughout the process. This is a great activity for students to understand how the colonist were feeling about taxation without representation. Since my students' writing prompt is to take a stand on the American Revolution and defend it for persuasive writing.

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