Revolution- Preparing for Revolution

In this lesson students will use primary sources to construct, as a class, a detailed timeline on several major events leading up to the American Revolution. Students will discuss what they have learned, in the context of the timeline, in order to understand how the legislative acts of the British parliament and the responses of the colonists contributed to the eventual outbreak of hostilities.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 
  • Analyze a set of primary sources for details about the causes of the Revolution.
  • Draw conclusions based on analysis of the sources.
  • Synthesize information in small groups to present what they have learned to the class as part of a discussion of a timeline.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • If each day’s timeline has been recorded as a poster (or in another permanent form), create a classroom display linking each day’s work into an overall timeline which can serve as a resource for further study of the period.
  • Have students consider how the colonists’ objections to the various Acts of Parliament correspond to those rights later included in the Bill of Rights.
  • Have students analyze the colonists’ language for references to slavery. How does the colonists’ characterization of the British as attempting to “enslave” them conflict with the colonists’ own practices in regard to slavery?

Helpful Hints


  • “The American Revolution –For Teachers”
  • America During the Age of Revolution, 1764-1775 (Overview timeline)
  • Primary Source Analysis Tool
  • Teacher’s Guide: Analyzing Primary Sources
  • Primary source sets (Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Boston Massacre, Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party, Coercive Acts) Provided within the lesson