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  Lesson Plans
Ring of colonist William Strachey
Dear Educators,

We are pleased to share with you the lesson plan packet for Historic Jamestowne. As you know, the important story of Jamestown is part of the history of Virginia and ultimately the United States. It is important to understand the early stories of Jamestown, and to include the most current research brought about through the work of the APVA-Preservation Virginia and their archaeology project, Jamestown Rediscovery.

Included here are several lesson plans that we hope will share our project with you and help add a new dimension to your classroom resources. Each lesson plan has been designed for a specific grade or two, but in the hands of a good teacher, any of these lesson plans can be adjusted for other grades to use. Archaeology is a fascinating tool to use with your students, and we hope we included enough background information for you to feel comfortable using these lesson plans. We have included a short power point "Archaeology 101" for teachers to use.

Have your students experience some archaeological thinking with our interactive modules designed for Jamestown Rediscovery by clicking here: Interactive Exercises. You can also use the second short PowerPoint presentation, "The Archaeology of James Fort," included here to introduce your students to Jamestown Rediscovery. It will serve as a preliminary look before visiting us or will help in the classroom if you can not visit us at Historic Jamestowne.

Please consider joining the APVA at our reduced price for teachers, and stay up to date with the new programs coming across the state at several APVA historic properties.

 
The following information is presented using the Adobe Acrobat format. The Adobe Acrobat reader may be downloaded free of charge here.
  Background Information

Archaeology
A glossary of commonly-used archaeological terms

Links
List of links pertinent to Historic Jamestowne and archaeology

Recommended reading for teachers
Books and websites that provide background information on Historic Jamestowne, archaeology, and relevant history

  Elementary School

Unearthing Calf Bones Big Bones, Little Bones
Suggested Grades: Kindergarten
Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne have excavated thousands of animal bones, giving them clues about the settlers' work and eating habits. This exercise will enable students to sort bones by size and animal-type, much as they do at Historic Jamestowne.

Finding Their New World
Suggested Grades: 1st
Students will learn basic map skills and plot the location of James Fort.

Bartmann JugMaking Faces
Suggested Grades: 1st, 2nd
Students will examine a Bartmann Jug excavated at Historic Jamestowne. They will then draw parallels to caricatures on modern objects and create a "Bartmann Jug" of their own.

"Adding it Up" at James Fort
Suggested Grades: 3rd, 4th
Jettons were tokens used by Jamestown's colonists for counting. This exercise challenges students to understand and interpret the way the colonists used jettons.

1608 Sketch of James FortFinding James Fort
Suggested Grades: 3rd, 4th
Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists used both historical documents and archaeological evidence to identify the remains of James Fort. Students are presented with examples of evidence the archaeologists used to find the fort and then asked to show the significance of each.

"You Shall Do Your Best Endeavor"
Suggested Grades: 3rd, 4th
The colonists at Jamestown were given specific instructions about what to look for in a possible settlement site. Using excerpts from a primary document and evidence collected by Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists, students will examine the significance of the settlers' directives and how closely they adhered to them.

Excavating a Borderware JugHow to Think Like an Archaeologist
Suggested Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne use artifacts to learn about the culture of the early settlers. Much about modern-day culture can be learned by looking at artifacts such as grocery receipts. In this exercise students will learn how seemingly mundane things can tell a lot about the people that used them.

Powhatan Living
Suggested Grades: 4th, 5th
Using colonist William Strachey's account of a Powhatan settlement, students will interpret how the Powhatan people built their homes and produced food throughout the year.

Reading Trees
Suggested Grades: 4th, 5th
Scientists can tell a lot about the conditions of a certain place and time by examining the rings in trees. Studies of trees used by the settlers at Jamestown have shown that the early settlers and their Indian neighbors suffered through a horrible drought. This exercise will let students experience the types of things that scientists look for and learn through the study of tree rings.

"What Do You Mean?"
Suggested Grades: 4th, 5th
Languages evolve over time and many words in use today had very different meanings to the settlers at Jamestown 400 years ago. Students will participate by writing sentences with words still in use 400 years after the first landing. That their sentences would have had a very different meaning to the settlers will teach students the importance of interpreting history in a variety of contexts.

  Middle School

Henry Spelman: The Powhatan Indians' English Boy
Suggested Grades: 6th
Henry Spelman was an English teenager who was among the first settlers at Jamestown. He lived with the local Indians for several years and gives us a unique perspective in this auto-biographical excerpt. This exercise will test students' reading comprehension and writing skills.

Reading Trees
Suggested Grades: 6th
Scientists can tell a lot about the conditions of a certain place and time by examining the rings in trees. Studies of trees used by the settlers at Jamestown have shown that the early settlers and their Indian neighbors suffered through a horrible drought. This exercise will let students experience the types of things that scientists look for and learn through the study of tree rings.

Jamestown in the Media: Distinguishing Fact from Opinion
Suggested Grades: 7th
Newspaper articles are a mix of fact and opinion. The articles written about the recent archaeological findings at Historic Jamestowne are no different. Students participating in this exercise will use their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills to separate fact from opinion.

Excavating a Cellar"It's All In the Cellar"
Suggested Grades: 7th
Creating accurate records of their excavations is an important aspect of being an archaeologist. Diagrams of buildings and artifact dispersion can help archaeologists piece together the form and function of the structures they are excavating. This exercise will allow students to create some of the analytical tools archaeologists use when surveying a structure such as diagrams and graphs.

Copper JettonsThe Demise of Copper’s Trading Power
Suggested Grades: 8th
Copper was very important to Jamestown's survival in its early history. The Powhatan Indians valued the metal and accepted it in trade for the food that the settlers so badly needed. As the years went on however, copper became less valuable to the Indians. This devaluation of copper is mirrored by the decrease in the amount of the metal found in excavations of sites dating later in the settlement's history. Dr. Seth Mallios formulated an equation that will allow archaeological sites at Historic Jamestowne to be dated according to the amount of copper found in them. Students participating in this exercise will use this formula to date several excavation sites and then hypothesize the reasons behind the demise of copper's trading power.

How to Think Like an Archaeologist
Suggested Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne use artifacts to learn about the culture of the early settlers. Much about modern-day culture can be learned by looking at artifacts such as grocery receipts. In this exercise students will learn how seemingly mundane things can tell a lot about the people that used them.

Statehouse Foundation With GravesWhat Lies Beneath
Suggested Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
The foundations of a statehouse are located on the western edge of the APVA's property on Jamestown Island. This was the last statehouse used in Jamestown before the capital of Virginia was moved to Williamsburg in 1699. This exercise incorporates technology by having students present reports on the statehouse through PowerPoint. In addition, the research for the reports will be conducted via the World Wide Web.

  High School

Art or Artifact?
Suggested Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
John White was one of the original colonists to settle on Roanoke Island in 1585. His watercolors and sketches of the native people of Virginia were the first of their kind to reach European audiences. This exercise encourages students to look at White's artwork with a critical eye and decide what, if anything, could have influenced his hand.

Magnolia on Jamestown IslandLimited Resources
Suggested Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
The archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne must be cognizant of the fact that they work in an environment which is home to thousands of species of wildlife. Protected species such as Bald Eagles are found on Jamestown Island and this raises issues involving cultural and natural resource preservation. Using a variety of research materials, this exercise engages students to form their own opinions regarding the balance between these two important resources.

How to Think Like an Archaeologist
Suggested Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne use artifacts to learn about the culture of the early settlers. Much about modern-day culture can be learned by looking at artifacts such as grocery receipts. In this exercise students will learn how seemingly mundane things can tell a lot about the people that used them.

Drug JarNetworking at Early James Fort
Suggested Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Pottery excavated at Historic Jamestowne includes examples made in several different countries. Ceramics from Germany, Italy, Spain, as well as from China have been discovered. This excercise will encourage students to examine the complexities of the world's trade networks in the early-17th century.

New SOL Tours

Featured Tours
In the Trenches
In the Trenches Curator's Artifact Tour
Curator's Artifact Tour

Jane, The Book and Video

Jamestown: The Buried Truth

America in 1607: Jamestown and the Powhatan

Jamestown Rediscovery Preservation Virginia Colonial Williamsburg National Park Service 757-229-4997
Historic Jamestowne's Facebook Page
Historic Jamestowne's YouTube Channel