Colonial Life Lesson Plan

What was everyday life like in colonial Virginia?

Level:
Elementary

Objective:
Students will read and analyze passages and photographs in order to learn about everyday life on colonial Virginia.

Standards of Learning:
Virginia SOL: VS1.e; VS4.e; US1.5c; English 4.5; English 5.6, 5.7

Materials Needed for Activity:
Student Handout - What was a man’s role on an 18th-century Virginia farm?
Student Handout - What was a woman’s role on an 18th-century Virginia farm?
Student Handout - What was the role of children on an 18th-century Virginia farm?
Student Handout - What was life like for enslaved people on an 18th-century Virginia farm?
Graphic Organizer - What was everyday life like in colonial Virginia?

Teacher Background
Colonial Life background essay

Procedure:
Students will work in cooperative groups to determine the roles of various colonial Virginians.

Step 1: Ask the students what jobs they have at home. Discuss their jobs and those of their parents and other family members. Ask the students how these jobs might be different from those in colonial Virginia.  Ask them how they think everyday life was different for whites and enslaved African Americans in colonial Virginia.

Step 2: Begin the lesson by telling students that most people in colonial Virginia at the time of the American Revolution lived on small farms.  Divide the class into four groups.  Explain to each group that they will read and analyze a different Student Handout about the role of one of the following groups:  men, women, children, or enslaved people in colonial Virginia.  Tell them that each group will then report their findings to the class.

Step 3: Distribute a different Student Handout to each group, along with a copy of the Graphic Organizer – What was everyday life like in colonial Virginia?  Instruct student to read their passage and look at the photographs.  Suggest that students highlight key words pertaining to the roles of their assigned group as they read the passage.  Have each group discuss among themselves the roles of their group and record them in the appropriate section of the graphic organizer.

Step 4: Have each group select a member of their group to present findings to the rest of the class.  Instruct all students to add information on the other groups to their graphic organizer as their classmates report.

Step 5: Use the question How was everyday life different for whites and enslaved African Americans in colonial Virginia? to summarize the students’ findings.

Summary Activity:
Have students write a journal entry comparing life in colonial Virginia to life in Virginia today.

Other Helpful Resources:

These books cover a wide time frame and geographical region:
McGovern, Ann.  If You Lived in Colonial Times.  New York: Scholastic, 1992

Kalman, Bobbie.  A Slave Family.  New York: Crabtree, 2003

Kalman, Bobbie.  The Kitchen.  New York: Crabtree, 1993

Kalman, Bobbie.  Home Crafts.  New York: Crabtree, 1993

Kalman, Bobbie.  Tools and Gadgets.  New York: Crabtree, 1992

Kalman, Bobbie.  Colonial Life.  New York: Crabtree, 1992

Lesson plans made possible by Archibald Andrews Marks.