The Search for Wealth
Students read a section from the poem “In 1492” by Jean Marzollo and reflect on the role of gold and wealth in the journey undertaken by Columbus. Then they examine the 3 Gs—gold, God, and glory—as motivation for European exploration of the Americas, and they identify the Spanish colony of St. Augustine. Next they learn about the French and early British colonies and examine the significance of Jamestown. Finally, they learn about mercantilism and explain it in their own words.
The Struggle for Religious Freedom
Students first brainstorm historical events that were motivated by religion. Then they compare and contrast Spanish missions and English colonies settled for religious freedom. Next they learn about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, and they reflect on the relationship between harvest and religious festivals. Finally, they explore many individuals who contributed to religious freedom across the English colonies.
The Establishment of Self-Government
Students brainstorm the responsibilities of a government and define the term self-government. Then they explore two types of government dominant in colonial America: monarchy and representative government. Next they examine the House of Burgesses and the Mayflower Compact as early models of representative government in the colonies. Finally, they develop a hypothesis about the relationship between the British monarchy, early forms of representative government in the American colonies, and the coming American Revolution.
Life in Colonial America
Students brainstorm different ways people can earn a living. Then they compare how the colonists in New England, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies earned a living. Next they study a population density map from 1775 and explain how geography influences settlement patterns. Finally, they research different areas of colonial life.
The Slave Trade in Colonial America
Students brainstorm what the word slavery means to them. Then they learn about the role of slavery in the economy of the American colonies. Next they explain the triangular trade system of the Transatlantic slave trade. Finally, they write a brief diary entry from the point of view of a young slave.
American Colonists and the Environment
Students brainstorm what are natural resources that they use every day. Then they examine how the American colonists adapted to and modified their environment. Next they explain the Columbian Exchange. Finally, they create a poster about the Columbian Exchange.