Welcome to the New World
This lesson provides students an opportunity to read and interpret writings of the late 1500's and to transfer the information provided in the writings into a visual medium as a means of understanding and interpretation. The lesson also provides students practice in persuasive techniques.
A lesson plan for grade 8 Social Studies
- Students will read and interpret selections of 1580’s English documents on the discovery of the North Carolina coast, then called Virginia.
- Students will use writings and drawings of early English explorers to envision the quality and beauty of the land and its inhabitants at the time of first English contact in the 1580’s.
- Students will translate and interpret historical documents and drawings in order to analyze and evaluate.
- Students will apply a modern world concept of a travel brochure or real estate advertisement to an old world context as a means of interpretation.
Time required for lesson
One to two days
- Handouts of Group Reading Assignments:
- Poster paper/medium size construction paper
- Scissors, glue, rulers
- John White maps/drawings
- Textbook and other resources (books, internet sites, etc.) specifically related to early English exploration and English life during the late 16th century.
At least one computer with internet access
The teacher should be knowledgeable about the early English voyages and attempts at colonization in the new world during the 1580s.
Before starting this activity, review students’ knowledge of early English exploration in North Carolina using a KWL chart.
Make sure students can identify the following individuals involved in early English exploration: Arthur Barlowe, Phillip Amadas, Thomas Hariot, John White, Ralph Lane, Richard Hakluyt, Walter Raleigh, and Queen Elizabeth.
- Divide the class into 5 groups, making sure each group is heterogeneously balanced with strong, medium, and low readers.
- Give a copy of the reading (see attached) to each member of a group and let each group decide how they want to read the selection aloud — either taking turns or selecting/volunteering one or two readers.
- While one member is reading, the rest of the group should listen and follow along carefully and should take notes on the descriptions being read.
- Once the reading is complete, the group will decide whether to create a travel brochure or a real estate advertisement that might be used in 16th century England to persuade people to join a voyage to “Virginia.”
- All members must take an active role in designing and completing the visual, which should clearly show the group’s understanding and interpretation of the reading.
- Each group’s completed visual should be “16th century time appropriate.”
- During this activity the teacher will move from group to group listening to the reading, answering questions, explaining concepts from the reading selections, and advising on the visual creation, when necessary.
- In addition, the teacher will have a computer set up with a screen visible to all students in order to display some of John White’s watercolor drawings, which are included in the Thomas Hariot document. (If internet or screen access is not available, the teacher may want to print a few of the drawings to post in the classroom during the activity.)
- Student Performance Assessment: observation of each student participating in the group reading activity, in the creation of the visual, and in the presentation to the rest of the class.
- Group’s presentation and explanation of their finished product.
- Evaluation of the finished product:
- Is the product “16th century time-appropriate”?
- Does the product reflect that the group members have understood the basic content of the document selection?
- Is the product an accurate interpretation of the document selection?
- Is the product persuasive in tone?
This is a good activity for engaging students in reading through social studies. It is important for students to read the selections aloud so that they can sound out the words for better interpretation. Working in groups allows all students to be actively involved since they will collaborate not only on translating and interpreting the writings but also on analyzing the descriptions in order to apply the information to a visual medium.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 8.G.1 Understand the geographic factors that influenced North Carolina and the United States. 8.G.1.1 Explain how location and place have presented opportunities and challenges for the movement of people, goods, and ideas in North Carolina and the United States....
- 8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 8.H.1.2 Summarize the literal meaning of...
- Social Studies (2010)
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 1: The learner will analyze important geographic, political, economic, and social aspects of life in the region prior to the Revolutionary Period.
- Objective 1.01: Assess the impact of geography on the settlement and developing economy of the Carolina colony.
- Objective 1.02: Identify and describe American Indians who inhabited the regions that became Carolina and assess their impact on the colony.