The Early Settlements in North America

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The Early Settlements in North America

Leisa Barbour

Colene Hoose Elementary

Summer 2008

Moran, Percy. Signing of the compact in the cabin of the Mayflower.

1910-1930. Touring Turn-of-the Century America. 1949.

American Memory. Lib. Of Congress.

Students will explore the early settlements in the Americas. They will investigate possible explanations for the disappearance of the colonists from Roanoke. Students will examine the differences between the early settlements that stretched along the eastern seaboard.
Overview/ Materials/Historical Background/LOC Resources/Standards/ Procedures/Evaluation/Rubric/Handouts/Extension

Overview Back to Navigation Bar


Students will:

  • describe the difficulties faced by the colonists of Jamestown

  • describe the influence of the Spanish missionaries on the southern colonies

  • describe royal colonies and how they operated

  • describe puritans and the early New England Colonies

  • describe cash crops and life on the southern plantations

Recommended time frame

2 weeks

Grade level


Curriculum fit

Social Studies


  • Note cards for vocabulary words

  • Text book

  • Shoebox size container for a project

  • Markers and colored pencils

  • Library books on the topic of early colonies

  • Encyclopedias

Illinois State Learning Standards Back to Navigation Bar

Social Science:

STATE GOAL 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

  • 16.A. The learner will use a historical source to describe past events and people and explain why they are important.

  • 16.C. Learner will tell about different ways that people earned a living in the past.

  • 16.D. Learner will tell about customs and traditions of people in America and the world.

Procedures Back to Navigation Bar

Day One:

  • Have students respond to the statements on the Anticipatory guide. anticipatory guide.doc

  • Collect this activity to use again at the completion of the unit.

  • Have students create a note card for the following vocabulary words: armada, pilgrim, compact, and Mayflower Compact.

  • Have students write a vocabulary word on one side of the card and the definition on the opposite side. Students can use these for review before the unit assessment.

  • Have students fill out the graphic organizer about the colony of Jamestown and Plymouth Colony. four square #1.doc

Day Two:

  • Review the vocabulary words with the class. Read the book, Roanoke- The Lost Colony-An Unsolved Mystery from History, to the class. Have a class debate as to what happened to the colonists from this colony.

Day Three:

  • Display the primary source document showing the signing of the Mayflower Compact to the class as either an overhead or a picture for each group.

  • Have groups discuss what the graphic is of and then discuss as a class.

  • Review the graphic organizer from Day 1 as a class. Students can add any important information.

  • Assign vocabulary words; borderland, presidio, hacienda, mission and missionaries.

  • Assign graphic organizer for the Spanish Borderland lesson. four square #2.doc

Day Four:

  • Display the primary source document #2.

  • Have the class make predictions about the content in groups and share as a class.

  • Review the graphic organizer from Day 2 to review as a class.

  • Have students create note cards the vocabulary words; royal colony, portage, proprietary colony and proprietor.

  • Have students fill out the graphic organizer that looks at the growth of New France. four square #3.doc

Day Five

  • Display the primary source graphic #3 and then share as a class.

  • Review the graphic organizer from Day Four.

  • Assign the new vocabulary words; charter, cash crop, refuge, indigo and debtor.

  • Review the day four graphic organizer.

  • Have the students fill out the graphic organizer that looks at the southern colonies. four square #4.doc

Day Six

  • Display the primary source graphic # 4 & #5 and have groups discuss the documents. Share as a class.

  • Review the graphic organizer from day five.

  • Assign vocabulary words for the last unit; Puritan, and Fundamental Orders.

  • Assign the last graphic organizer about the New England Colonies. Foursquare5

Day Seven

  • Play a review game of Tic-Tac-Toe using the vocabulary words Tic Tac Toe Game

  • Pass out the anticipatory guide from the start of the project and have students respond to it again

Day Eight-Ten

  • Assign container projects

Day Eleven

  • Share projects with class and have students use the assessment tool to self-evaluate

Evaluation Back to Navigation Bar

  • Each student will be assigned a container project.

  • They will choose 10 items that represent a colony and write a description for each of the items.

  • The colonies that they can choose from are Jamestown, Roanoke, a puritan colony, a southern colony, a mission, a presidio, or a royal colony.

  • Students will be evaluated using the Container Project Rubric.

Extension Back to Navigation Bar

virtual tour of Colonial Williamsburg
colonial games

Jamestown adventure

Historical Background

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This unit is to examine how the first settlements in the Americas came about. The first settlements on the east coast were very difficult. The first settlers did not know how to prepare for winter. The first settlers that arrive in Roanoke returned to England within a year starving and defeated. A second group of settlers came to Roanoke Island with John White. He returned to England for supplies, but was helped up because of the war. When he returned the colonists were completely gone and left few clues to their whereabouts. Jamestown was a more successful colony. Plymouth Colony was settled in 1620 by pilgrims that were seeking freedom of religion. They also saw a need for order and therefore set up the Mayflower Compact.
In the south Spanish soldiers were building presidios and small wooden houses for settlers to provide safety from pirates and Indian attacks. Ranchers built haciendas in the borderlands to raise cattle and sheep. The Spanish empire wanted to expand its economy and to spread the catholic faith. They set up missions to protect people. The Native Americans liked this at first, but then the soldiers forced them to give up their religious traditions.

New France was a Spanish colony controlled by King Louis XIV. He set up royal colonies.

The southern colonies built plantations and grew cash crops. They used slaves from the early 1700’s to help with the work. They grew rice, indigo, tobacco and cotton.

The Puritans received a charter to start a colony in Massachusetts. Many of the pilgrims did not want to be forced to follow the practices of the Church of England. The Puritans wanted to make their religion more pure.

Anticipatory Guide

Name _____________________________

Before the unit True or False After the unit

_____ The people of the colony of Roanoke disappeared without an _______


_____ The Mayflower Compact was an agreement with the colonists _______

to remain under British rule.

______ A presidio was a fort built by Spanish soldiers. _______

______ Native Americans lived in the Spanish missions so that the _______
soldiers could protect them.

______ The Native Americans were able to continue to practice their _______

religious traditions.

______ A royal colony was a colony that was ruled by officials that _______

were appointed by the King of France.

______ There were 17 original British colonies ________

______ The colonists of Pennsylvania were required to be Puritans. ________

______ A pilgrim is a person that makes a journey because of their ________


_____ The colonists of South Carolina grew corn. ________

Primary Resources from the Library of Congress

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Permanent URL

Signing of the compact in the cabin of the Mayflower


#1 Title devised by cataloger.

Photograph of a painting signed Percy Moran, showing Myles Standish, William Bradford, William Brewster and John Carver signing the Mayflower Compact in a cabin

Moran, Percy. Signing of the compact in the cabin of the Mayflower. 1910-1930. Touring Turn-of-the Century America. 1949. American Memory. Lib. Of Congress.>

#2 Although William Penn was granted all the land in Pennsylvania by the King, he and his heirs chose not to grant or settle any part of it without first buying the claims of Indians who lived there

Treaty with the Indians

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Wayne Spilove. 14 September 2006 <>.


This is a mission that faced northeast. This one is located in Arizona.

Nichols, Frederick C. View of church-looking northeast.
1937. Built in America. 1933. American Memory. Library of Congress. August 1937

Click on “4 b&w photos”

#4 Near Hartsville, South Carolina, sorting and stringing the "golden leaf" at the tobacco barn, preparatory to curing. Note sled by which tobacco is brought to the barn from the field. This sharecropper family has six acres in tobacco, their main cash crop. They will sell this year's crop for about nine hundred dollars, of which they receive one-half.

Lange, Dorthea. 1LC-USF34-018715-E. 1938. America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945. July 1938. American Memory. Library of Congress. 1944 <>

#5 Description: Map with a corner detail depicting slave labor on an indigo plantation.

Mouzon, Henry Jr. & Lodge, John. Map with a corner detail depicting slave labor on an indigo plantation. 1773. Slave voices from the special collections library. November & December 1995. Rare Book, Manuscript and special collections library-Duke University. 13 June 2008 <>


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Container Project Rubric


Directions: Student will self grade their project by circling the number

in blue. Mrs. Barbour will then review the student’s grade and give the final grade.

Student has chosen 10 items that are important to the colony they have chosen













Students did a thorough job of

Describing their choice for each one of the items













Student used good time management skills







Project is neat and organized








Student used good grammar and spelling with written work






Grand Total

  • Choose one colony or settlement area; Roanoke, Plymouth Colony, Jamestown, a mission, a presidio, a royal colony, a puritan colony or a plantation.

  • Choose 10 items that represent your colony

  • Write a kid-friendly paragraph for each item that you have chosen

  • Choose a container to put your items

  • Be neat and creative

  • Be ready to share your project with the class

  • Fill out the rubric to turn in with your project

Due date______________________________________

Back to Navigation Bar
Tic Tac Toe Game
Put one word in each box
armada pilgrim Mayflower Compact presidio borderland hacienda missions royal colony proprietary colony proprietor charter cash crop refuge Puritan Fundamental Orders immigrant debtor Roanoke Jamestown indigo


Fleet of war ships


Person who makes journey for religious reasons

Mayflower Compact

Self-rule document by colonists in America

A Spanish fort

Area of land that serves as a barrier

Large estates

Religious communities

Royal colony

The king still rules the colony, but appoints officials to help him govern

Proprietary Colony
The king gave ownership to one person and let him rule


owner of land

A document giving a person or group of people official approval to take a certain action

cash crop
a crop grown to sell to others

A safe place

People that did not separate from the church of England when they set up their colony

Fundamental Orders
The first written system of government in North America

People that come to live in a new country leaving their homeland behind

A person who owes money

Colony where everyone disappeared

Colony that John Smith led

A plant from which blue dye is made

FourSquare #1

What was the mystery of Roanoke?


Draw a symbol

Describe the first 2 colonies at Jamestown

Draw a symbol

What was the Mayflower Compact?

Draw a symbol

Describe the Plymouth Colony


Draw a symbol

The English come to America

Name ________________________

Vocabulary words: armada pilgrim Mayflower Compact

FourSquare #2

What are presidios?


Draw a symbol

Describe the ranches and haciendas

Draw a symbol

Describe the missions

Draw a symbol

Draw a Spanish mission

The Spanish Borderlands

Name ________________________

Vocabulary words: buffer borderland presidio hacienda mission
FourSquare #3

How did the French grow wealthy?


Draw a symbol

What were Marquette and Joliet exploring?

Draw a symbol

Describe the propriety colony

Draw a symbol

Draw a map of where New France was located in America in 1700

New France

Name ________________________

Vocabulary words: royal colony portage proprietary colony

Describe life in the southern colonies


Draw a symbol

What cash crops were grown?

Draw a symbol

Describe why King George wanted to send debtors to America

Draw a symbol

Draw a map of where the 13 British colonies were located

FourSquare #4

The British Colonies

Name ________________________

Vocabulary words: charter cash crop refuge Puritan Fundamental Orders Immigrant indigo

Describe the Puritan Colony


Draw a symbol

Who was Thomas Hooker?

Draw a symbol

Describe the Dutch Colony

Draw a symbol

Who was William Penn?


Draw a symbol
FourSquare #5

The British Colonies

Name ________________________

Vocabulary words: Puritans Fundamental Orders immigrants

Teaching with Primary Sources

Illinois State University

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