Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Resources for the 13 Colonies

In Social Studies, we spent the first half of the year learning about the different regions of the US, as well as the Native Americans of each region. Second semester we are supposed to talk about Westward Expansionism.  Before we move on toward the Pioneers and Moving West, I want us to quickly touch on the 13 Colonies.  They need to understand that sellers came from Europe to the Colonies.  Then, after while they moved west.  Expansionism is always a routine of exploring, settling, and then searching for more.

We are going to watch videos from Discovery Education on New England Colonies, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies, so they can see some of the differences at a glance. I also picked up some books at the library on each of the three regions of the 13 Colonies. Students will be getting into groups.  I will have a group for each of three regions.  Different people in each group will research different aspects of daily life in the Colonies like education, clothing, food, industries, cultures, geography, etc. Edhelper also has some great little reading passages on lots of Science and History topics.  If you have never looked at Edhelper, it is a good resources for $20 a year.  Many times over the years I have used it as my overall backup resource for all subjects.

My students will then do a project on what they learned.  I am thinking we will make our first glogs through Glogster Edu. I also would like to have them do something a little more hands on, so I might have them make some type of model of a typical home or something.  Any fun hands-on project ideas for the 13 Colonies?

Here are some web links I found on the 13 Colonies.  I found a cool website through Pinterest called Go Social Studies Go.  They have some really fun facts and videos on history.  They have a page for US History.  We will use the sub-page on the Colonies.  On the page for the New England Colonies, they have a link to a Horrible History video that presents the differences between the Puritans versus a family relocated from England.  The video is called a Historical Wife Swap, and it shows what would have happened between the two types of families if they had done a wife swap.  I thought this idea of using the idea of a reality show to highlight the differences between different cultures even in one section of the 13 Colonies was a really fun idea. I think there is a whole series of these Horrible History videos on Youtube for all sorts of History topics. This might even be a fun assignment. Have the students make their own video of what if they had done a reality TV show at a different point in history?  What would it have been of?

A couple books I like to use when studying the 13 Colonies because they are high-interest reads and  because they highlight daily life in a more disgusting, dreadful way are:

Source: amazon.com via April on Pinterest

Source: amazon.com via April on Pinterest

This book is an easy read and presents info on the 13 Colonies in a question and answer format:
Source: amazon.com via April on Pinterest

There is so much more you can do when studying the 13 Colonies, but I want to cover it pretty quickly.  Do you have any favorite activities or projects you like to do when covering the 13 Colonies?

After we finish the 13 Colonies, each student is going to do a report on a state (probably one of the original 13 colonies because I only have 12 students). I can then do the 13th report. I want them to make the connection between life in a historical colony and modern life in a state. It is important to understand how history affects present day. Then, we will move on to Moving West.


  1. These are some fabulous resources. I love teaching the America Revolution. Another teacher and I cam up with an idea to show the students why the colonist wanted to rebel. We felt that if they could understand how unfairly the colonist were treated then they might understand the revolution more. So we came up with an activity where we gave them M&M's (not to eat at first) We said that we wanted to reward them for all of the hard work they had been doing all year. Then it was tax time... We told them that there were many people and items that played a role in their success. So we took away M&M's for various items and services (paper, tables, glasses, pencils, teacher, clerks, and principal services, etc.) They were outraged. We were quite strict too. After the activity, we had them reflect on their feelings and it was interesting how they fell into the roles of patriots, loyalists, and nutralists. It was so much fun! :) I should blog about it sometime. lol
    Sorry for the super long comment. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing! I had never seen Go History Go and I think it is laid out really nicely to correlate with the goals for Common Core. I will definitely be using this in the computer lab.



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