Perspectives on the Boston Massacre (15MS606)

Perspectives on the Boston Massacre (15MS606)

This lesson is for : Grade 6:


Students use an online tool to analyze various accounts and images of the Boston Massacre. Based on their analysis of these images, students develop questions that they still have about the context and details of the event. Students then read several first-hand accounts of the massacre in order to answer these specific questions. Students use their analysis of the images and first-hand accounts in order to reflect on how various forms of media can shape an individual’s understanding of historic events.

After the Bostom Massacre activities, each student selects two different current event articles (from reliable news sources) about the same event. Using specific evidence from these two current events, the images within the articles, and examples from the Boston Massacre lesson, the students write a blog post that includes:

  • Links to both current event articles
  • A brief summary of both articles
  • A response to the following question: “How do visual images affect the way we view and/or understand historical events and/or current events?”
  • A reflection on how this activity will change the way that the students view and interpret the news

TIPC Ratings

Research & Information Fluency

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: Research and information are a focus of this lesson. The students use a variety of search engines to select two current event articles that are relevant to their interests and appropriate for answering the essential question of the lesson. The students analyze these documents, plus the media from the Boston Massacre portion of the lesson, and synthesize this information in order to develop an argument about how visual images affect an individual’s understanding of events. This research is displayed on the classroom blog, where other students can access the information.

Communication & Collaboration

Rating: Approaching – Explanation: Students work in pairs throughout the assignment to bounce ideas back and forth and allow the teacher to listen to the student’s verbal conversations. At the end of the lesson, the students use the classroom blog to communicate with one another. Students use the comments feature of the blog to provide feedback to each other about their work. The blog acts as a collaboration tool as well in that the students help to influence each other’s reflections and takeaways from the lesson.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: Critical thinking and problem solving are the main focus of this particular lesson. The problem that the students address within the lesson is how visual images influence an individual’s understanding of a current and/or historic event. To prepare the students to think critically about this problem, the lesson begins with a “smaller” problem: What actually happened on the day of the Boston Massacre?

Students use the image comparison tool on the “Perspectives on the Boston Massacre” site in order to justify their answers to high level questions regarding the events. In order to answer these questions, students use specific evidence from the various images, and the comparison tool makes this task much more efficient and practical than it would be if the students only had access to paper documents. The image comparison tool gives the students control of various tools that allow them to manipulate the images in the way that they see fit. Students can zoom in/out and hover over various areas to compare the different documents and see small, but important differences within the images that would be difficult to identify without computer aided tools. Based on their comparisons of the images, students develop questions about the Boston Massacre that are left “unanswered” by the different accounts they have seen thus far.

After completing the Boston Massacre portion of the lesson, students use their information fluency skills to select relevant and appropriate current articles that allow them to develop an answer the lesson’s essential question. Students use their individual research, and the information provided by their peers on the class blog, to reflect on their roles as media consumers.

Creativity & Innovation

Rating: Approaching – Explanation: The final “product” of this assignment is a blog post, which the students create and share via a WordPress blog. The students choose which media to include in their post and analyze their media in order to discuss how visual media influences an individual’s understanding of an event..

Classroom Action

Lesson Materials

H21 Lesson Artifacts

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