Colonial America Research Project

Take a journey back in time…The latest advancements in technology are the Printing Press and the new-found nautical compass! In the cities and towns, the roads are made of dirt and cobblestone, the homes are quaint and full of life. The smell of fresh baked bread made from the recently harvested wheat, lingers in the air, as do the more unpleasant aromas of waste and seafood coming in from the docks. Running water is in the form of irrigation ditches, hand pumped wells, and indoor pluming is delightful in your cozy out house! Transportation is in the form of horses, wagons and good old fashioned walking, and the light to guide your path comes from the sky above and the candle and oil lanterns on the lamp posts and windows as you pass by.

Education is a luxury, and life is focused around community, family, farming and the local plantation, depending on your region. Life is pleasant for some, and incredibly challenging for others, depending on your place in society.  Freedom is a term that varies from person to person, and by the region, and all seek independence. The time frame for your trip back in time is between 1500 and the late 1600s, and you are on the east coast of what is now the United States. Welcome to the newly established Thirteen Original Colonies!

Colonial America is alive and well in Fifth Grade! Each year and for over a month, students apply their research skills independently to complete a persuasive research assignment, from the perspective of an early American colonist. In the spring, and once their research is complete, students will present and persuade their classmates to drop everything and move! “Why leave your home, your family and everything you know? For adventure of course!” With slogans, catch phrases and sales pitches in the form of tri-fold boards, speeches, song and even costume, the fifth graders bring history to life. For this annual project, we, as a class, focus on the impact of colonists on life in the 1500s – late 1600s, and how they impacted the world, the people, and life in what would become the United States of America.

Fifth graders are each assigned one of the Thirteen Colonies at random. Due to harsh winters, disease, and relations with the local indigenous tribes, life in the colonies wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. But as a representative of the colony, the delegates (the 5th grade student), must find a way to persuade others to join them, risking everything for the hope of something more! These persuasive presentation advertisements are designed as sales pitches. Students are asked to research, create and convince an audience of perspective colonists, their classmates, to move to their colony in order to ensure survival. So far, it looks like most of the colonies will survive another day, and eventually help in the Revolutionary War as they head down the road towards independence!