Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

This lesson plan, adaptable for grades 5-12, centers around Mission US: For Crown or Colony?, a game in which students take on the role of an apprentice to a newspaper printer in Boston in 1770–a time of growing tensions between the colonists and the loyalists. Beyond building historical knowledge, the mission engages students with exciting plot lines and a sense of daily life at that time. Each student will have a unique experience based on individual choices, skill, and understanding of the period.


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Learn the story of America and the ways Americans struggled to realize the ideals of liberty and equality.
  2. Understand the role of ordinary men and women — including young people — in history.
  3. Develop historical thinking skills that increase historical understanding and critical perception.


  • Computers or other devices with Internet access
  • Interactive whiteboard


Familiarize yourself with the game For Crown or Colony? prior to introducing it to your class. Click the "New Game" button, and then point and click buttons and text on the screen to navigate.

For historical background, review the following resources:  Educator’s Primer on the Historical Period, Timeline of Historical Events, and Historical Figure Biographies (to learn about the real characters who appear in the game).

Explore the extensive Educator Guide to learn about the game and to download related curriculum and activities. Portions of this lesson plan have been adapted from this guide.

If students will be playing in small groups, review tips on Setting Cooperative Gaming Expectations.

For ideas on how to use SnapThought with this game and for specific prompts to provide students with during game play, read For Crown or Colony?: SnapThought Prompts.

Build background knowledge or reinforce topics with these BrainPOP movies: American Revolution, Causes of the American Revolution, Thirteen Colonies, French and Indian War, Ethics

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Build background by showing the BrainPOP movies Causes of the American Revolution on the whiteboard or other display.  After watching, distribute and review For Crown  or Colony? -- Top 5 Things to Know.
  2. Display the game For Crown or Colony?  on the whiteboard. As a class, play the Prologue “Leaving Home” to introduce the setting, the characters, and the premise of the game.
  3. Provide students around 20 minutes to play Part 1 “New in Town” either individually or with a partner. Explain that in this part of the game, as Nat, they will explore Boston and learn of the tensions between the loyalists and the patriots. They will need to decide who to sell ads to based on where their loyalties lay. Encourage students to use the Snapthought button (the small camera) at the bottom of the screen to reflect on their game play, and decisions they make. See For Crown or Colony?: SnapThought Prompts for sample reflection prompts, or craft your own.
  4. After students play Part 1, have a class discussion about what they learned. Have them share their SnapThought reflections.
  5. If time allows, have students complete one or more For Crown or Colony Activities for Part 1 provided by Mission US.
  6. Over the next several class periods, provide time for students to explore the other parts of the game. Continue to have students use SnapThought for written reflection and to respond to the activities provided by Mission US for each part of the game.
  7. As students navigate through the game, connect their learning with the Primary Source documents, also provided by Mission US. Encourage students to analyze one or more of the resources, including photos, advertisements, articles, and more. Challenge them to compare these primary resources to the ones they saw in the game. Invite students to reflect in partner or small group discussions, or in writing using the Snapthought tool.

Extension Activities:

After completing all five parts of the game and the Epilogue, print out the Character and Scene Printables and distribute them to pairs or small groups of students. Have them use the printables to share what they learned from this experience. They may use the images to create a multimedia presentation in which they re-enact an important experience from the game or that illustrates an important understanding.