Social Studies/ela colonization

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Social Studies/ELA Colonization | Challenge Brief

Engage! Learning | Learner Resources

Town of Sunnyvale

September 15, 2015

(Walker, Teel, Ansel)'s (Social Studies, Reading, ELA) Students

Sunnyvale Middle School


Dear Students,

We have many families in our community that have moved from other countries and states.  Our nation started with families packing up their belongings and venturing across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in America.  Once in America, we know that the colonists had to modify their environment to help them survive.  Sometimes these modifications were positive and other times, negative.   

Since living somewhere new can be a challenge, the Town of Sunnyvale has asked us to create a tool box, including a welcome letter, with items to help families survive in a new place as well as give them advice on how to keep our community beautiful.  They are asking you to use personal experience, historical information, and information gathered through texts in your reading class to create the tools in your toolbox.  These will be set up at Sunnyvale Middle School for families to observe.  


What kind of a tool box could we create for families moving to Sunnyvale, using the history of American colonization, that would help them have a positive transition into our community?

Project Requirements:


Students will create a detailed Venn diagram to compare and contrast the reasons people colonized America in the 1600's to today, including their motivations for moving, religious freedoms, and changes to the environment. 

Students will compose a welcome letter to new Sunnyvale residents. The welcome letter should be formatted like a business letter.

Students will compose an imaginative story that includes: 1) a clearly defined focus, plot, and point of view; 2) a specific, believable setting created through the use of sensory details; 3) and dialogue that develops the story. Before composing the story, students will plan the story by creating a story map that includes: 1) characters and character relationships; 2) point of view; 3) setting (time & place); 4) a conflict/problem; 5) and the 5 plot stages (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution). 


Social Studies:

Students will create a visual showing evidence of positive and negative modifications to the environment from each time period with advice to families on how to keep their community beautiful.

Students will create an item of their choice that they feel is vital to a successful move to Sunnyvale.

Students will create a chart showing a comparison of the motivation for people colonizing America to why people have moved to Sunnyvale.  

Students will show an understanding of how geography affected early economic activities in the Thirteen Colonies by creating a product map with explanation of why the colonies were divided into the regions of New England, Middle, and Southern.



Students will show an understanding of how an author's use of sensory language creates imagery within the poem. They will evaluate the impact of sensory language, sound devices, and figurative language in poems and use this information to compose their own poems.

Students will compose 5 poems relating to the following topics:

  • Our schools

  • Reasons to move to Sunnyvale

  • The diversity of our community

  • How our community is continuing to grow and change

  • Positive and negative changes to Sunnyvale.

Poems should include sound techniques (e.g. alliteration, internal rhyme, onomatopoeia, rhyme scheme, assonance, consonance), figurative language (e.g. similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole), and sensory language that appeal to the reader's 5 senses (touch, sight, smell, taste, sound).

Students should summarize and/or paraphrase poems in ways that maintain meaning and logical order.

Students will create a book for the toolbox that includes their welcome letter, poems and imaginative story.

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