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Here’s a lesson on the Toponomy of the 13 Colonies
9, 10, 11, 12
Title – Toponymy of the 13 Colonies
By – Michelle Beerbower
Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 9-12
***Use this lesson BEFORE studying the 13 colonies, therefore, the students will have fewer pre-conceived ideas about who settled each of the colonies.***
Goal/Objective: Students will test the following generalization: “You can usually tell who settled an area simply by looking at the toponymy.”
1. Define “Toponymy”: The Study of Place Names
2. Break into groups and distribute a map packet*
3. Students will analyze the maps comparing the place names of the 13 colonies to the place names of Europe (i.e.: London, England and New London, Connecticut–could you assume that the English settled Connecticut?)
4. Groups will present their findings to the class and determine whether they believe the generalization to be weak, strong, or very strong. (Students should site multiple examples of cities.)
5. Students will then consult their history textbook to determine whether or not their findings were correct by finding out who actually did settle each colony.
*Map Packet: Include both recent and (if possible) colonial maps of the United States and Europe.
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