Lesson Plan: Everything Was Up to Date in 1628
Time Allotment: Two or three 45-minute class periods (excluding homework)
Overview: In this lesson, students will examine the life and lifestyles of New England colonists in the year 1628, and then investigate what life was like in their own area during the same time period. After watching segments from the PBS hands-on history series COLONIAL HOUSE, students will complete an online virtual "scavenger hunt" by examining various objects from the colonists' cottages. Based on their research and detective work in the scavenger hunt, students will be able to make predictions about what life was like for the early colonists.
Following their study of the colonists' homes, students will use an online research organizer to investigate the history of their own area. Students will develop timelines of the history of in their own area from 1628 to the present, and develop a hypothesis about what life was like in their area at that time. This lesson can be used as a pre- or post-viewing activity for the PBS series COLONIAL HOUSE, or as an independent lesson on early colonization in North America. A basic knowledge of early colonial history and American history is required.
Subject Matter: History
Students will be able to:
- Describe colonial housing in New England during the 1620s;
- Identify seventeenth-century household objects;
- Investigate historical artifacts and describe their uses;
- Discuss the history of their area;
- Create a timeline of the history of their community;
- Hypothesize what life was like in their community during the 1620s.
From the National Standards for History Grades 5-12, available online at http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/nchs/standards:
Historical Thinking Standard 1: The student thinks chronologically; therefore, the student is able to distinguish between past, present, and future time and interpret data presented in timelines and create timelines by designating appropriate equidistant intervals of time and recording events according to the temporal order in which they occur.
Historical Thinking Standard 2: The student thinks chronologically; therefore, the student is able to describe the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those who were there, as revealed through their literature, diaries, debates, arts, artifacts, and the like.
Historical Thinking Standard 4: The student conducts historical research; therefore, the student is able to formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from the past.
Video: COLONIAL HOUSE, Episode 1: "A New World" (optional)
COLONIAL HOUSE: Interactive History Panoramas
This Web site provides users with 360-degree views of the buildings and land used by the participants in the PBS hands-on history series COLONIAL HOUSE. This site requires the free Quicktime 3 plug-in, available at http://www.apple.com/quicktime.
COLONIAL HOUSE: Cottage Quest
This interactive quiz sends users on a "scavenger hunt" through the houses and belongings of the COLONIAL HOUSE participants. Users answer multiple choice questions about seventeenth-century objects and their uses.
COLONIAL HOUSE: Pilgrim's Progress
This activity challenges users to guide a shipful of colonists across the Atlantic by completing "historical detective work" about their own community.
For the class:
Computers with Internet access
For each student:
Pencil and paper for notetaking
Prep for Teachers:
Prior to teaching the lesson, review all of the video segments and Web sites to make certain they are appropriate for your students. Download the Quicktime 3 plug-in, available at www.apple.com/quicktime, to each computer in your classroom. Cue the video to the appropriate starting point, which is shortly after the colonists have arrived in the colony, and they are walking hand in hand up a steep hill, away from a bay. You will hear a violin and bells.
When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.
1) Ask your students to imagine that they have suddenly been transported back in time to the year 1628. Ask your students how long ago 1628 is. (Three hundred seventy-six years.) Ask your students if their school was in existence in the year 1628. (Unless you are working in a REALLY outdated school, the answer will be no.) Ask your students if their city or town would have existed in the year 1628. (Student answers will vary.) Ask your students who they think would have been living in their area in 1628. (Many students will probably respond, "Indians.") Do they know what type of Indians, or how they lived? Ask your students if there were any Europeans in your area in 1628. (Student answers will vary.) Ask your students if there were any Europeans in what is now the United States in 1628. (Student answers will vary; guide your students to realize that explorers and colonists from Europe were in what is now the United States in 1628.)
2) Tell your students that during this lesson, they will be examining what life was like for colonists in 1628, and then examining how life has changed in their own community over the course of the last 376 years.
3) Explain to your students that recently, a group of people had the chance to experience life in 1628 first-hand. They were participants in a "hands-on history" TV series called COLONIAL HOUSE, and they agreed to live for more than four months under the conditions of New England colonists in 1628.
4) Tell your students that soon, they will be exploring the homes of these 1628 colonists, identifying objects and examining how they were used in day-to-day life. First, however, they will see the colonists and their homes in a video segment.
5) Insert COLONIAL HOUSE Episode 1: "The New World," into your VCR. CUE the video to shortly after the colonists have arrived in the colony, and they are walking hand in hand up a steep hill, away from a bay. You will hear a violin and bells. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking your students to watch the clip and determine how the houses were divided among the colonists. PLAY the video until you see a small boat in the bay, and you hear fiddle and flute music. PAUSE the video. Check for student comprehension, asking students how the houses were divided among the colonists. (The houses were divided by status.) Ask your students who has a higher status in the community. (The governor and the lay preacher.) Ask your students who has a lower status in the community. (The freemen and the other family -- the Voorhees family.) If your students cannot answer these questions, REWIND the tape and show the segment again.
6) REWIND the tape to the beginning of the segment. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to watch the segment again, and note the differences in the houses. How do these differences reflect the status of the owners? Again, PLAY the tape until you see a small boat in the bay, and you hear fiddle and flute music. PAUSE the video. Check for student comprehension, asking your students how the houses differed and reflected the status of the owners. (The governor's house has a loft, and enough beds for everyone, the lay preacher's house is more elaborately furnished, the freemen's house has no fireplace and a bed only for one person -- the head of the household.) Ask your students if they were forced to live in one of these houses, which would be the nicest in which to live? (The governor's house or the lay preacher's house.)
7) REWIND the tape to the beginning of the segment. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to watch the segment again, and see what objects they can identify in the houses. Again, PLAY the tape until you see a small boat in the bay, and you hear fiddle and flute music. PAUSE the video. Check for student comprehension, and ask your students what objects they could identify in the houses. (Student answers will vary.) Ask your students what words they would use to describe colonial housing in 1628. (Student reactions will vary; ask students to substantiate the words they choose with examples from the video.)
8) Tell your students that they will be assuming the role of historical detectives to gain a deeper understanding of what life was like in a New England colony in 1628.
1) Divide your students into pairs of groups of three (depending on how many computers with Internet access you have available). Ask your students to log on to the COLONIAL HOUSE: Cottage Quest section. Explain to your students that this Web site presents them with descriptions of items from everyday life in 1628. Their goal is to match each description with the item it describes. As students answer the questions, they will be able to answer the question "How long did the colonists live in the colony?" by using the letter of each correct answer.
2) Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to complete the Cottage Quest activity, and match each description to the object it best describes. Remind students that they will have to go in to the various houses and areas of the colony to find information on the different objects.
3) Give your students 20-25 minutes to complete the activity. Check for comprehension and completion, asking your students, "When did the colonists live in the colony?" (The colonists lived in the colony from June 8 to October 3, 2004.)
4) Ask your students what they think about life in 1628 New England based on their historical detective work in the colonists' cottages. (Student reactions will vary.) Ask your students if, based on their knowledge of the houses and the items in them, they think life in 1628 was easy or difficult. (Students should say that life was difficult. Possible student rationale will include: the houses were small and drafty, the houses lack many comforts or conveniences, the houses are small and cramped, there are many tools in the houses used for hard physical labor, the colonists seem to have a limited diet, and they have to use available materials to furnish their homes.)
5) Ask your students if they think they would enjoy living in 1628 for an extended period of time. Why or why not? (Student answers will vary.) How would life in 1628 differ from life in 2004? (Student answers will vary.)
6) Tell your students that now that they have examined life in New England in 1628, they will be examining how life has changed in their own area since that time.
7) Divide your students into eight groups. Assign a number (1-8) to each of the eight groups. Tell your students that they will be working in teams to examine how your community has changed since 1628. Each group will be focusing on a different aspect of your area's history.
8) Ask your students to log on to the COLONIAL HOUSE: Pilgrim's Progress activity at http://pbs.org/wnet/colonialhouse/teachers/pilgrims/index.html. Ask each student group to click on the "GET STARTED" arrow at the top of the page. On the next page, student groups should click on the number assigned to their group at the bottom of the page.
9) Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to record their assignment and the challenges they face in their notebooks. After they have recorded their assignments, ask each group to describe their assignment and their challenges to the rest of the class.
The group assignments will be as follows:
Group 1: Personal History in Your Area
Challenge 1. Investigate why you and your family live in this region. Ask a parent, relative, or older friend why you live where you live. Do you have other family in the area? Did a job or an opportunity bring your family to where you now live? When did they arrive in the area?
Challenge 2. Investigate the history of your home or school. When was it built? Did anyone live in your house before you did? Who were they? Do you know any adults that went to your school? What was there before your house or school? Who might know, and how can you find out?
Group 2. State History
Challenge 1. Investigate the name of your state. Some states were named for Indian tribes, place names, or words. Others were named for English monarchs or Spanish phrases. What is the basis of your state's name, and who named it?
Challenge 2. When did your state become part of the United States? Write down the year that your state gained statehood.
Challenge 3. What are some important events that happened in your state? When did they occur? Who are some famous people that were born in your state, and when were they born?
Group 3. Your City or Town 100 Years Ago
Challenge 1. Can you find houses or other buildings in your town or city that were there 100 years ago? Are there many, or only a few? How old is the oldest building still standing in your town or city?
Challenge 2. Interview an older friend, neighbor, or relative about your town. How has it changed during this person's lifetime?
Challenge 3. Can you find any old photographs, postcards, or paintings of life in your town 100 years ago? What do they show? Are the buildings still in existence?
Group 4. Your City or Town 200 Years Ago
Challenge 1. Determine what the population for your town or city was in the year 1804. It may be zero, or you may only be able to find an estimate of the population.
Challenge 2. If your city or town WAS in existence, what was happening in 1804? Who was living there? Where might you be able to find some of their names? If your city or town WAS NOT in existence, where was the closest town or city that still exists today? How might you go about finding it?
Challenge 3. Determine what was happening across the United States in the year 1804.
Group 5. The Founding of Your City or Town
Challenge 1. Determine who founded your city or town, and the date when it happened.
Challenge 2. Is there any memorial to the founders of your city or town ... a statue, a street name, or maybe even the town's name?
Challenge 3. Determine why your city or town was founded. What brought settlers to your area?
Group 6. First Europeans in Your Area
Challenge 1. Determine who the first Europeans were in the area of your city or town, and the year when they first arrived.
Challenge 2. Determine why these first Europeans came to your area. What were they doing?
Challenge 3. Determine what else was happening in North America at the time the first Europeans arrived in your area.
Group 7. Native Inhabitants of Your Area
Challenge 1. Determine which Indians lived in your area prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Challenge 2. Research the history and culture of these Indians. Where did they live? What did they eat? How was their society organized?
Challenge 3. Do these Indians still have a presence in your community? How? Are Indian names used? Is there a reservation nearby?
Group 8. Native and European Interaction in Your Area
Challenge 1. Determine the date (or an approximate date) when Indian-European reaction began in your area.
Challenge 2. Determine if the relationship between the Indians and Europeans was peaceful or violent. How did contact impact the Indians?
Challenge 3. How did the relationship between the Indians and Europeans change over time?
10) Explain to your students that they will need to consult additional sources to meet their challenges. Some groups will be finding information on the Internet. Some groups will be conducting interviews outside of class. Some groups may have to visit the public library for additional information.
11) Tell students that once each group finishes their research, they will be presenting the information they find to the rest of the class. Students should pay particular attention to significant dates they find in their research. Allow students ample in-class and homework time to complete their research.
1) Once each group has completed their research, ask groups to present their findings to the rest of the class. Ask the groups to present in chronological order (Group 1 first, Group 2 second, etc.).
2) While groups are presenting their information, ask students to jot down dates of significant events and findings. How has their area changed over time?
1) Ask students to develop a timeline of events in their area, starting in 1628 and ending in 2004. What information from the presentations can they include in the timeline? What significant events have taken place in their area?
2) After students have completed their timelines, ask students to write a brief paragraph about what life was probably like in your area in the year 1628. Who lived there? What were their lives like? Was life in your area similar or different from the life of New England colonists at the same time? Collect the students' timelines and paragraphs for review.
Create word problems based on the food stores housed in the COLONIAL HOUSE storehouse. How long would the available food last with different numbers of colonists?
Ask your students to create a journal entry for a seventeenth-century New England colonist, or a seventeenth-century inhabitant of your own area.
Your students have discovered that life in 1628 was quite difficult. Ask your students to research the diseases and health problems faced by early colonists.
- Invite a local antiques dealer into your classroom, and ask the person to describe how he or she identifies and values unique objects from the past.
- Visit your local museum or historical society to learn more about the early inhabitants of your area.
- Invite a speaker from your local historic preservation committee to your classroom to discuss historic buildings in your area.
- Create a "time capsule" of objects relevant to your students' lives to be opened by future students in your school.
About the Author:
Christopher W. Czajka is an Educational Consultant for COLONIAL HOUSE, and served as a Historical Consultant on Thirteen/WNET's FRONTIER HOUSE. He is also the Associate Director of the National Teacher Training Institute (NTTI), an educational initiative that teaches educators across the country strategies for incorporating PBS programming, instructional media, and emerging technologies into the classroom. To learn more about NTTI, and to explore more media-rich lessons, visit NTTI Online (www.thirteen.org/edonline/ntti).