The Boston Massacre: Paired Reading Passages & Opinion Writing


Subject: U.S. History, Writing-Essays, Informational Text
Grade Levels: 4th, 5th, 6th, Homeschool
Resource Type:
File Type:
File Size: 2 MB
Number of Pages: 36
Answer Key: Rubric Only
Teaching Duration: 3 Days


Who Caused the Boston Massacre? American Revolution Paired Passages & Opinion Writing – Digital & PDF

This is set of leveled paired passages or texts with reading comprehension tests, short response questions, and extended writing prompts. The included texts are non-fiction. Two of the texts are based on the actual testimony given at the trials, although the texts have been rewritten in modern English. The extended writing prompt provided is for opinion writing. Targeted reading levels are 4th – 6th.

Included are 5 different texts. 4 of the texts are provided on 3 different reading levels. The other text is appropriate for all levels.

This resource is included in both PDF and digital (Google slides) formats. The digital copies are included in both a whole file format and broken into individual pieces to make it easier for teachers to assign the pieces in an online platform.

Flexible Use

This product is designed to help students practice for state reading and writing tests such as FSA and MACS. This resource could also be used as part of a unit on the American Revolution. Teachers can choose how to use this product.

The Unit

Students read about the night of the Boston Massacre, then decide whether the British soldiers or the colonists caused the Boston Massacre. Students write an opinion essay stating their opinion and supporting it with text evidence. (6th grade teachers could easily have students write an argumentative essay.)

4 texts are about what happened on the night of the Boston Massacre. They can be used together for the writing or used separately.

Two reading comprehension tests are included. One has 6 multiple choice questions and 2 short response. The other has 3 multiple choice questions and 1 short response.

The last text summarizes the verdicts from the jury trials of Captain Preston and the other British soldiers. It is provided on 3 reading levels. Teachers can read this with students after they finish their opinion essay.

Easy Differentiation

In order to differentiate, the leveled passages are provided at three different reading lexile levels:

Level A – Low, 4th grade level
Level B – Medium, 5th grade level
Level C – High, 6th grade level
Teachers can differentiate this assignment in different ways:

Use different reading levels as appropriate.
Vary the number of passages given to students. There are 4 texts that can be used for the paired passages writing.
They could just use the summary passage and the Testimony of the Colonists passages.
They could also use the Testimony of Captain Preston and the Timeline of Events.
The Testimony of the Colonists could also be adjusted to only use the first page instead of both sides.
What is included in this product?

Timeline of Events in Boston Passage – in 3 levels
The Boston Massacre Passage – in 3 levels
Testimony of Captain Preston Passage – in 3 levels
Testimony of the Colonists Passage – appropriate for all levels
The Verdicts of the Boston Massacre Trials Passage – in 3 levels
6 reading comprehension and 2 short response questions for The Boston Massacre Passage
3 reading comprehension and 1 short response questions for the Testimony of Captain Preston Passage
Answer Key for all questions
The Boston Massacre Extended Writing Response
Opinion Writing Rubric
Standards Covered by this Product
Testing Cover Page
Testing Bubble/Answer Sheet
Final Essay Blank Writing Paper
Digital copies of everything in Google slides.
Please see the preview for even more information and pictures of this product.

Do you need a writing center?

If you are looking for help teaching paired passages, please see my writing center. This product discusses how to teach and organize evidence-based writing.

Paired Passages Writing Center: Citing Text Evidence Bundle Grades 4, 5, & 6

Free Teacher Resource

For more information on teaching text-based essays, please see my blog post explaining the TEACH strategy.


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