Lesson creators: Beth Raff, Patricia Sellar and Ann Cartmell, Auten Road Intermediate School,
Hillsborough New Jersey
Grade level: 3-5 Objectives: Students will demonstrate an understanding of what life was like for European colonists in New Jersey in the 1600 and 1700s.
Correlations with NJ Core Content Social Studies Standards 6.1.4.A.15 Explain how and why it is important that people from diverse cultures collaborate to find
solutions to community…challenges.
6.1.4.B.7 Explain why some locations in NJ and the US are more suited for settlement than others.
6.1.4.B.8 Compare ways people choose to use and divide natural resources.
6.1.4.C.1 Apply opportunity cost to evaluate individual’s decisions, including ones made in their
6.1.4.C.2 Distinguish between needs and wants and explain how scarcity and choice influence decisions made by individuals, communities, and nations.
6.1.4.D.2 Summarize reasons why various groups voluntarily and involuntarily immigrated to new Jersey and American and describe the challenges they encountered.
6.1.4.D.3 Evaluate the impact of voluntary and involuntary immigration on America’s growth as a nation, historically and today.
6.1.4.D.13 Describe how culture is expressed through and influenced by the behavior of people.
6.1.4.D.14 Trace how the American identity evolved over time. American culture, based on specific traditions and values, has been influenced by the behaviors of different cultural groups living in the United States
6.1.4.D.15 Explain how various cultural groups have dealt with the conflict between maintaining traditional beliefs and practices and adopting new beliefs and practices.
Common Core ELA Standards: RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
RI.4.3 Explain…ideas or concepts in a historical…text
How did life in colonial times differ from life today?
…If you lived in Colonial Times (Ann McGovern)
Voices of Colonial New Jersey (National Geographic)
Colonial Life (Children’s Press)
Colonial America (Capstone Press)(Students can choose several endings.)
Outrageous Women of Colonial America (Furbee--(Jossey-Bass)
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Lesson 1 (Center for Civic Education, 2011)
Students create a map of colonial New Jersey. Students locate some of the early settlements on the map (handout 1) and color code approximate regions where different European settlers lived (Swedes, Dutch, French, British Protestants, Quakers, French Protestants (Huguenots)). For information on New Sweden go to http://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/content/171/217/842.aspx
Students divide into groups and use graphic charts (handout 2) to explain the economic, religious, or other reasons for Europeans immigrating to New Jersey and America in the 1600-1700s, and describe the challenges they encountered.
Many early colonists came to America primarily to earn money by trading with the Native Americans for their furs. Later, when word spread of the bounty of the wide expanse and natural resources in America, many came to earn their living by farming. Land in Europe by limited and owned only by wealthy people. America was a very large place compared to most countries in Europe.
Economic reasons. There was space in America for people to settle and own land. In Europe only the rich could afford to buy land. Land in America was cheap.
Other European colonists settled in America because they were not allowed to practice their religious beliefs in Holland, France, Britain or other European countries.
Research life in colonial New Jersey for children, Native Americans, women, slaves, indentured servants and prepare a comparison chart (handout 3) about the level of freedom, and the ability to earn income, travel, and to own property.
Most settlers were self-sufficient farmers. They meant that they grew and made everything that they needed: food, clothing, tools, household goods. Some had indentured servants to help them. In the southern colonies some people had large plantations with hundreds of slaves. African people had been brought to work as slaves. By 1775 there were half a million African slaves in North America (20% of the total population of 2.5 million).
An indentured servant was a colonist who didn’t have the money to pay for his voyage to America had someone else pay those costs and then he had to work for that person for a period of years, usually 5-7, and then was free to do as he pleased.
A slave was a colonist who was brought here against his or her will to work on a plantation, small farm or in a city, without wages but with room and board. According to the 1790 census, there were 11,423 slaves in New Jersey, out of a population of 184,139 people. Slaves were 6.2% of the colonial population in New Jersey,
Celebrate Colonial Day—after reading about colonial times, have students dress and act as colonists in New Jersey. Each student can be given a different role: e.g., blacksmith, barber, tanner, hunter, farmer, etc. Students will take a walk in the footsteps of a colonial person and be exposed to various aspects of colonial life. Some suggestions include:
Extension There are many houses, churches and other buildings from the colonial period still standing in New Jersey. Visit or research information about East Jersey Olde Town Village, a reconstructed colonial village in Piscataway (www.co.middlesex.nj.us/culturalheritage/eastjersey.asp), oran historic building in your town or elsewhere in New Jersey from the 1630s-1770s. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_buildings_in_New_Jersey#Colonial_era for information about many colonial buildings in New Jersey. Have students prepare a short presentation about the colonial buildings to the class.
Handout 1: where did early colonists settle in New Jersey?
Handout 2: Why did people come to the North American colonies in the 1600and 1700s?
Handout 3: Comparing freedoms
Ability to earn income
Ability to travel
Ability to own property
Handout 4: COSTUMEIDEASFORCOLONIALTIMES
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Below you will find some suggestions for costumes to wear on Colonial Day. Please note that costumes are optional, but they do add to the fun!
Pants for men:
● roll up your pants to the knee
● wear baseball or sweat pants with bottom elastic that can be pulled up to your knees