Monday, August 1, 2011

Jamestown for kids

Our family will be singing this week's history fact to the tune of Dinah:

In 1607 King James of England
sent explorers to North America.
They established the first successful settlement
in Jamestown, Virginia!

(Sorry, had to eliminate "the first" to make it fit!)

You'll want to check out this virtual Jamestown and an entire page of Jamestown links and another here, including interactive "Would you survive?" activities from, and The Jamestown Online Adventure. This page also had a number of links for older students, including finds from archaelogical digs at Jamestown.

Here are a few videos from the History Channel's The Story of Us on life in Jamestown (2:45), a general overview of the topic (4:06; note that there is a painting depicting a topless native American woman around 2:00; also speaks of a man being shot with arrows and his body eaten by wolves)--as well as a solely illustrated video on death in Jamestown and its harsh realities (1:07). They also have a couple of videos for kids on archaelogical digs at Jamestown, climate clues to what happened there, and even a replica of the Jamestown ship built in Maine! National Geographic also has a game for kids, "On the Trail of Captain John Smith."

[Note about videos: As a general rule from my experience, videos from the History Channel are wonderful for history depiction and helping my children enter into historical moments! However, thought they may have a level of violence or description that shows no blood, it may imply violence. For example, in the latter History Channel video above, there is a brief mention of people eating each other, and though it is illustrated, there is a brief depiction of an illustrated figure being hanged. Please watch all videos to determine whether they're appropriate for your children.]

If you're looking for more hands-on ways to interact with this week's lesson, you might talk about what your family would pack in your two 4' x 3' x 3' trunks on the ship to the New World, look up what they might have eaten, or even make some of the provisions to try yourselves.

As a recommended resource, I found this Social Studies Activity Book on Life in the Colonies on clearance, and it's got some wonderful reproducibles that initiate activities like making butter, making a waterproof vessel, stitching a sampler, making a game that colonist children played, and other multi-disciplinary colony activities with your kids. I'm pretty excited to try these activities out and bring history into our kitchen!

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