GaspeeVirtual Archives
Notes on Presenting the Gaspee Affair to a 4th Grade Classroom

The following notes are courtesy of RC, a father not a teacher, who was asked to give a presentation to his son's 4th grade class on the topic of the Gaspee Affair.  It is presented here to build upon in doing your own presentations.

I spoke a week ago today to my son's 4th grade class and thanks to the material on your web site, it went very well.
 I read several of the articles which summarized the events before, during and after the burning and used that as an oral presentation. I broke my lecture down as follows:

1.    Geography of Narragansett Bay (remember these are Pennsylvania students)
2.    British taxation and the colonists' response (smuggling--refusing to pay the tax)
3.    The British Response (stationing HMS Gaspee and other ships to intercept and board RI ships)
4.    The Gaspee incident itself (chase of The Hannah to the burning of the Gaspee)
5.    The King's Response and the Investigation

 I took three "photos" off the web-site to aid in the talk:  1) the map of the chase 2) a photo of the burning of the Gaspee, and 3) a copy of the King's Proclamation and posting of a reward.

I went to Kinkos and made overhead slides of these three photos and used them during the discussion.  I also made 10 color copies of each (20 students in the class, so every 2 students shared a copy during the talk).   The map was an especially big hit and allowed for a dramatic rendition of the chase that the students could follow.  Also, the proclamation was good, too, so the students could see that this act by the colonists in tiny RI reached all the way to King.  The slide of the ship burning did not turn out as well.  When I tried to magnify the painting from the web site, the pixel format "bled" and the image was not that good.

The students and the teacher seemed engaged and entertained, and I am glad to say that twenty 4th graders from Pennsylvania can now spend the rest of their lives correcting people who speak of the Boston Tea Party as America's "First Blow for Freedom".
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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 2/2004    Last Revised 11/2008    4thGrade.htm