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Jamestown Colony, Fact vs. Fiction


Social Studies  


7, 8  

Title – Jamestown Colony, Fact vs. Fiction
By – Jim McFillin
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 7-8
Lesson Objective–Social Studies-8th grade/ United States Its Origins

a. Learn about Jamestown, the first successful English Colony-How it almost failed
b. Compare the reality of 1609 with Hollywood’s interpretation
(1) Literary Arts-Pocahontas and John Smith by Disney Movies

Concepts/ Facts

1. The Jamestown Settlement-1607
          a. Persons/ Organizations
                    (1) The Virginia Company/ Investment
                    (2) Captain John Smith
                    (3) Powhatan/ Werowance (Chief)/ Mamanatowick (Great Chief)
                    (4) Pocahontas/ Rebecca Rolfe
          b. Cultures
                    (1) Pantheistic vs. Monotheistic
                    (2) Hunter/ Farmer vs. Mercantile


1. Direct Instruction
          a. Overview of Colonial Exploration
          b. Sir Walter Raleigh & Roanoke
          c. Jamestown–1st Permanent English Settlement
                    (1) Journey & Site itself
                    (2) Problems encountered & overcome
                              (a) Powhatan
                              (b) Shelter/ Fire/ Food/ Barter

2. Group Collaboration–Possible
          a. Science-Compare Jamestown Settlement with possible Mars Exploration
                    (1) How to accomplish it?
                    (2) Food? Water? Transportation?
          b. Literary Arts-Capt. John Smith & Pocahontas/ Disney movie
                    (1) Instructional framework-set purposes
                    (2) Activate prior knowledge-many of the children have seen the Disney movie
                    (3) Read, explore and extend the text-connect with Social studies on Jamestown exploration
          c. Mathematics-Percentages/ gentleman vs. farmers, length of travel, etc.


1. Easel to write New Words
2. Projector or Overhead Projector
3. Laptop computer to show CD-ROM of Explorers and Power Point Presentations
          a. ED student will help with mechanics of presentation; keeps him involved
4. Timeline-Jamestown
5. Two-column notes with new words
6. Visit Jamestown in Virginia

Lesson Components

1. Social Studies/ Introduction
          a. Review Spanish and Portuguese Explorers
          b. Anticipatory Design-Pocahontas, the Indian Princess
          c. Will the real Pocahontas & CAPT John Smith please stand up!
          d. Compare to today’s astronauts

2. Objective-Importance of US History to you, the future of America
          a. Purpose-Settlement of the Atlantic Coast
          b. History vs. Make-Believe (Disney)!

3. Review of Exploration to date

4. Jamestown
          a. Economic/ Political World situation
          b. The Voyage–5 to 6 months
                    (1) Capt. Christopher Newport/ Three Ships/ Thomas Savage/ Capt. John Smith
                    (2) How long would it take to go to Mars? Eleven months! Students are making a replica of the solar system in science.
          c. The Settlement/ the Colonists
                    (1) Peninsula/ the Fort/ water/ food for Jamestown
                              (a) What else is needed for Mars? Patrick has recently studied solar system
                              (b) Gentlemen vs. farmers for Jamestown
                              (c) Robots, Astronauts for Mars
                    (2) Capt. John Smith/ Rev Robert Hunt
                    (3) Sir Thomas Dale/ Lord De La Warr
                              (a) “The Starving Time”
                              (b) Lord DeLaWarr saves Jamestown in 1610
          d. Interaction with the Native Americans–Powhatan/ Pocahontas
                    (1) Empire–30 tribes (14000 vs. 105)
                    (2) Powhatan allowed settlers to stay/ provided food
                    (3) Pocahontas statue/ Rebecca Rolfe–Student read!
                              (a) Saved John Smith/ helped the colonists
                              (b) Married John Rolfe/ had a boy named Thomas/Visited England & Queen
                    (4) Opechancanough–March 22, 1622 (Good Friday)
                              (a) Killed 330 settlers/ Chanco warns Jamestown
                              (b) Killed 400 in 1644/ finally captured by English
                              (c) Powhatan Empire gone by 1649

6. Literary Arts
          a. Pocahontas and John Smith
                    (1) Instructional framework-set purposes
                              (a) Activate prior knowledge-many of the children know about Pocahontas and John Smith
                    (2) Retrieve story from Internet
                              (a) Captain John Smith on the ship Susan Constant; good looking soldier; saved sailor-true or made up?
                              (b) Governor Ratcliffe portrayed as mean-true or made up?
                              (c) Pocahontas “saves” John Smith-true or made up?
                              (d) Smith “shot” in the movie-real history he is hurt by an explosion
          b. Shared reading/ Discussion
                    (1) What do you think of Pocahontas?
                    (2) Do you think they will marry? Predictions?
                    (3) Why does Powhatan spare John Smith?
                    (4) Why doesn’t Pocahontas go to England with Smith?
          c. Pick your own picture/ select your own caption and write your own paragraph-what do you think the picture is saying?


1. Checking for Understanding-Social Studies
          a. Two Column notes-Help students with this new technique
          b. Check your reading-Geography skill: Was the James River peninsula a poor place to start a settlement? Why or why not?
                    (1) How did the Virginia Company raise the money it needed to start a colony in North America?
                    (2) How did John Smith help Jamestown survive?
                    (3) What are three facts given about John Smith in this lesson?
          c. Word-Find famous names
          d. Time-line development
          e. VENN Diagram-similarities and differences/ Disney Pocahontas vs. Real Pocahontas
          f. Ship (mapping)-Why did the explorers go to America

2. Checking for Understanding-Write a paragraph on the Jamestown settlement/ Suggestions
          a. Who was your favorite character and why?
          b. Pick one of the thirty pages-write your own caption above the picture, and write what happens beneath the picture

3. Learning Journal
          a. Think about why the English were successful.
          b. What could have been done differently?
          c. What are your thoughts on Pocahontas, John Smith, or Powhattan?

4. Writing to Learn
          a. Decide on a topic concerning the exploration of the Americas
                    (1) On day three provide this info to the teacher
          b. Pick either an explorer or an issue important to the Indians or settlers
                    (1) As an example, it could be about the importance of bringing skilled craftsmen to the colony
                    (2) In another example you might discuss disease-mosquitoes, malaria, on the Indians or the settlers, etc.
                    (3) Match your territories
          c. Maximum of two pages, double-spaced
          d. Rubric-5 = mastery
– (1) Content                    5          4          3          2          1
– (2) Neatness                    5          4          3          2          1
– (3) Punctuation                    5          4          3          2          1
– (4) Spelling                    5          4          3          2          1
– (5) Originality                    5          4          3          2          1

5. Closure-What have I learned today?
          (1) Jamestown? Indians?
          (2) Pocahontas-Movie vs. Real/ John Smith-Movie vs. Real

E-Mail Jim McFillin!

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