Field Trips

Pirates and Privateers

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Math,Social Studies


Program Summary:
Students take on the role of a Privateer in the American Revolution, choose a crew name, and raid an enemy merchant ship! They explore the goods such ships would bring back from all over the world and determine how much they would have to pay in taxes to the government at the Custom House. Upon presenting their papers to government officials, it is revealed that some of the crews had been pirates all along! Students will learn the difference between being a Pirate versus being a Privateer and understand the dangers and rewards associated with being a Privateer during the American Revolution. They will then tour the historic Custom House. 

Essential Questions:
What is the difference between a Pirate and a Privateer?
How did Privateers help the Revolutionary War effort?
Why are taxes important?

Program Length: 90 minutes

Target Audience: 3rd Grade

Massachusetts Curriculum Connections for 3rd grade:

Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework
Civics and Government
6. Give examples of why it is necessary for communities to have governments (e.g., governments provide order and protect rights). (C)
S 8. Define what a tax is and the purposes for taxes, and with the help of their teachers and parents, give examples of different kinds of taxes (e.g., property, sales, or income taxes). (E)
New England and Massachusetts
3.5 Explain important political, economic, and military developments leading to and during the American Revolution. (H, C)
Cities and Towns of Massachusetts
Identify historic buildings, monuments, or sites in the area and explain their purpose and significance. (H, C)
3.14 Give examples of tax-supported facilities and services provided by their local government, such as public schools, parks, recreational facilities, police and fire departments, and libraries. (E)



An advertisement from 1776, soliciting a Privateer for Beverly, MA

Download 1776 Advertisement for a Privateer in Beverly

Last updated: September 7, 2018