Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - Simulations

Hello Everybody!  Today, I am linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturday.

I love having students simulate historical events in social studies.  This week we completed one of my new favorite simulations (passed down from fifth grade when our standards changed this year).  Students acted out how the American colonists felt when they were being unreasonably taxed by the British.

First, students all chose their roles from "The Bag of Randomness".

There is one king/queen, two members of Parliament, two tax collectors, and everyone else is a colonist.

Each colonist starts with one pack of Smarties, but they won't last for long.

The members of Parliament take turns picking out tax cards from the bag of randomness.  The king or queen reads the card, and the tax collectors collect Smarties from the colonists.

Warning: It will get loud!

At the end, the tax collectors are allowed to keep 10% of the Smarties they collected.  The two members of Parliament each receive 40% of the Smarties collected by one of the tax collectors.  The king or queen gets the remaining 50% of the Smarties from both tax collectors.

After the students finished this activity, I handed out a reaction paper. To assure them that I was fair, I handed out an additional pack of Smarties to the colonists, once they finished the reaction paper.  They were brutally honest about their reactions, but they all said it was fun, and they wanted to do it again.

I feel the students ended this activity with a strong understanding of how the colonists felt about taxation without representation.  I love doing simulations with my students.  I believe they are one of the best ways to make history "real" to the students.

I'm to read the other motivating ideas on the Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky.  Make sure to check them out!

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the weekend!


  1. I LOVE this idea! I wish I taught this topic so I could borrow this for my classroom.

    It's too bad that paying taxes wasn't as simple as Smarties...

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. I love this! I am totally doing this with my kids when we cover the American Revolution. Do you have this activity in your store? I'd love to pick it up.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  3. I agree...I want to do this too! I'd love to have this for my students. I am certain my kids would get loud too, but who cares. It will be so worth it! Fabulous idea!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I love your simulation! This is one of my favorite memories from 5th grade! We had to travel across the United States (we were the Care Bears-totally dating myself) and it was so much fun! (and we learned!!) What a motivating idea! Thanks for sharing and linking up Mary!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. I've done this activity for several years, but I love your reaction sheet!! Thanks for sharing!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  6. Love this! I am sure my kiddos would be outraged-haha. Thank you for sharing. :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

  7. Did this today, and my students absolutely loved it! They will always remember what "taxation without representation" means. Thanks for sharing!