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Introduction to Colonial Times

Students will be introduced to different types of sources, examine primary sources in detail, define colony and learn when the colonial time period was in relation to other historical events.

Grade Level 4th grade

Learning outcomes

Students will:

Teacher Planning

45 minutes

Power Point with internet access - Introduction to colonial times powerpoint.ppt


(There is a Power Point presentation that goes along with this lesson.) Ask the children to think about the sources they get information from. Create a list of sources they discuss.

Introduce two types of sources to the students secondary and primary. Primary sources are items created used by people that leave clues about their lives. It is important to explain the primary sources are created by the actual people involved in the event. Examples of primary sources are letters, diaries, journals, maps, recipes, pictures, artifacts, documents, and cartoons. Primary sources provide a historical record and evidence about the past. Secondary sources are items created after something happened. They talk about someone else's experiences. Examples of secondary sources are textbooks, newspapers, and encyclopedias.

The attached Power Point shows examples of different types of primary sources. There is an interview with an older man recorded in 1970 about life during the late 1800s. The students can listen to him talk about when land cost a nickel and riding on horse drawn wagons. Go back to the original list and determine which sources are primary and which are secondary.

After reviewing examples of primary sources show the students the timeline to help them understand when colonial times were in relation to other major events. Depending on the age of your students you will need to adjust the next to the last date which is your student's birthdays. The final date will also need to be updated. If children know of other major historical events you could discuss their placement along the timeline.

After understanding when colonial times were it is important for students to understand what a colony is. A colony is defined as a settlement separated from, but under the control of, a home country. To help students understand you could use the analogy of taking control of another classroom and even though you weren't there to rule the classroom you were still in charge.

After explaining what a colony is as the students to think about anything they know about colonial times. Create another chart or list. The could be done in the format of a K-W-L chart.

At the conclusion of the lesson introduce the Documenting the American South Colonial Records collection. A link to the collection is provided in the Power Point.

Informal assessment - Have the students go back to the original list of sources and determine which sources are primary and which are secondary. The student could write in their journal what a colony is and when North Carolina was a colony.

Supplemental Information

NC curriculum alignment
NCSCOS 4th grade

Social Studies

2.02 Trace the growth and development of immigration to North Carolina, over time from Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

3.02 Identify people, symbols, events, and documents associated with North Carolina's history.

Information skills

1.09 Recognize that ideas are produced in a variety of formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia, web-based).

1.10 Identify characteristics and advantages of various media formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia, web-based) for a specific task.

1.11 Explore primary and secondary sources.

Lesson plan created by Lara Willox