Comparing/Contrasting New England and Tidewater Colonies Grade Level: 8th Grade Duration: 3-88 minute classes Focus Question: What were some of the hardships that 17th century people faced in the New England and Jamestown Colonies?

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Roots of a Nation: A Chesapeake Journey Submitted by Angela Shamp

Topic: Comparing/Contrasting New England and Tidewater Colonies

Grade Level: 8th Grade

Duration: 3-88 minute classes

Focus Question:

  1. What were some of the hardships that 17th century people faced in the New England and Jamestown Colonies? What were their food sources, settlement, Native American relations and weather like?

  2. What settlement would you want to live in and why?

CC Alignment:

  1. RH 6-8.7 Integrate visual information (eg: charts, graphs, photograph videos and maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

    1. Identify and gather several specific types of primary sources-both textual (diaries, letters, census records, websites) and visual (paintings, photographs, maps, graphs) to be used in addressing a social studies problem or question.

    2. Define relationships among gathered information identifying where information from different sources converges and where it differs.

    3. Draw conclusions, citing evidence from both text and visual sources.

  2. RH 6-8.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic

    1. Draw conclusions about the purpose of opposing facts or interpretation of the facts.

    2. Interpret primary and secondary sources for corroboration between and among ideas.

  3. WHST 6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational text to support analysis reflection and research.

    1. Write in response to grade-level print, non-print, and digital literacy or information texts with an emphasis on comparison and contrast cause and effect as well as contextual analysis in social studies disciplines.


  1. Maps of Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.

  2. Time line of each settlement

  3. Narratives (of buildings, native American relations, food sources and climate)

  4. Photograph (of building material, floor plans)

  5. Charts and graphs of climate and weather

  6. Video Clips (building, tribal relations, growing food and climate) Colonial House, History of US, Jamestown.

  7. Poster and materials for travel pamphlet.

Instructional Procedure:

  1. Warm Up: Compare and Contrast the two maps of Jamestown Colony and Plymouth Colony. Where are they located? What are the natural resources in each area?

  2. Divide students into four groups. Each group will be assigned either Plymouth Colony or Jamestown colony. Each group will visit several centers to gather information on settlement of each colony, relationships of Native Americans, food sources and climate and weather.

  3. Each group will spend 15 minutes at each center gathering information, using their note taking sheets.

    1. Center #1: Settlement. Students will look at floor plans of each colonies house. Students will look how each house was constructed and their building materials. Using narratives, charts, photographs and short video clips. Colonial House.

    2. Center #2: Native American Relations. Students will learn through secondary sources about why Native Americans lived close to each settlement. Students will use narratives to understand relations among the Native Americans.

    3. Center #3: Food Sources. Students will learn through narratives and video clips and secondary sources what food the settlers would have access to and what they were able to trade. Students will also look at the “Starving Time”.

    4. Center #4: Climate and Weather. Students will analyze how climate (the Little Ice Age) and weather would have impacted the settlers. Using graphs, charts and video clips.

  4. Each group will complete a poster to endorse/promotional pamphlet of their colony to other perspective settlers. Giving the good points of their settlement.

  5. Each group will have to present to the rest of the class why they should move to their settlement. While the rest of the classes are taking notes on the pros and cons of each settlement.

Assessment Activity:

  1. Students will debate the issue of why they should move to the perspective colony. Giving the pros and cons.

  2. Opinion paper: In your opinion, which colony would be the best one to live in and why?

Extension Activity:

  1. Students will write either a diary entry or a letter home to tell how life in their settlement is like. Using things that students learned from narratives, video clips and debates.

Center 1: Settlements

Slides from Architecture and Town Planning.

John Smith’s Chesapeake Voyage, 1607-1609

Jamestown living quarters were crude by the standards of later centuries. The English borrowed few building techniques from the Powhatans and then only later. Instead they erected an English-style stockade around a collection of houses that initially resembled the hovels f the poor back home. Before long, as the colony became better organized, they would build the post-in-the-ground, wattle and daub, half timbered house that tourist can see at Jamestown Settlements English Fort. Higher status persons had larger quarters with more furnishings in them, including a Bible and paper and quill pens. The second-largest building in town was the church. Unlike the temples of the Algonquian speakers, which were large but outside the towns and off limits to common folk, the English church was in town center, open to all. (page 56)

Plymouth Colony

On December 21, 1620, the first landing party arrived at the site of what would later become the settlement of Plymouth Plans to immediately begin building houses, however, were delayed by inclement weather until December 23. As the building progressed, twenty men always remained ashore for security purposes, while the rest of the work crews returned each night to the Mayflower. Women, children, and the infirm remained on board the Mayflower; many had not left the ship for six months. The first structure, a "common house" of wattle and daub, took two weeks to complete in the harsh New England winter. In the following weeks, the rest of the settlement slowly took shape. The living and working structures were built on the relatively flat top of Cole's Hill, and a wooden platform was constructed to support the cannon that would defend the settlement from nearby Fort Hill.

Movie Clip: Life in Jamestown

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