Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Settling America in 1640

Shelia Scofield
Bay District Schools


This activity gives students information about an American settlement in 1640. It will also ask them to take what they have learned and use it to write a story that takes place in that time period.


The student understands the geographic, economic, political, and cultural factors that characterized early exploration of the Americas.


-Multimedia computer with presentation capability
-IMAGINATION EXPRESS: TIME TRIP (software) USA publishers Edmark/Harcourt Brace
-One copy per student of -Time Trip U.S.A. 1640 Worksheet- (see Lesson Procedures)
-One copy per student of narrative checklist and storybook rubric (see Associated File)
-Computers and colored printer


1. Become familiar with the software.
2. Check computer/TV connectivity for whole class presentation
3. Plan rotation schedule for listening and publishing activities
4. Copy one -Time Trip U.S.A. 1640 Worksheet- per student
5. Copy one narrative checklist and storybook rubric per student (see Associated File)
6. Check computer and printer functionality



1. Anyone using this lesson activity must be familiar with Imagination Express: Time Trip USA or the procedures and terminology such as e-books, fact books, and stickers will be confusing.

2. Demonstrate Imagination Express: Time Trip to students either on a computer screen or using a presenter which is a way to use a television to show what is on the computer screen.

3. Students then individually listen to Time Trip Fact Book 1640. As students listen, they will individually complete a fill in the blank worksheet. (See attachments) This will take between 20-30 minutes for each student.

4. When all students have completed this listening/writing activity, discuss as a whole group the differences in life in 1640 and today. Use the overhead projector in a whole class setting to make a Venn diagram to compare/contrast the two time periods, 1640 and 2000.

5. Listen/view the sample E-book on computer screen/presenter as a whole class.

6. Place students in groups of two to write their own books. The setting will be 1640, and it should be set around what they have learned from the two different listening/viewing activities in IMAGINATION EXPRESS: TIME TRIP. The first activity was listening to fact book and the second activity was a listening/viewing of the sample E-book.

7. When students have their story written, they are to decide what text they want on each page. (I suggest you limit the book length to no more than 7-10 pages because of the time and expense involved in printing these books. These books use a lot of ink because they are so colorful. Ink cartridges are expensive.)

8. Once they have the story divided into pages, they may go to the computer and select their backgrounds to type the text. Once the story is typed, allow students to drag stickers (such as people, animals, tools, etc.) on each page. (I suggest you limit these to 2-3 stickers per category or it could take them forever and the pages will become very crowded with stickers.) Once this is done, if you have the capabilities on your computer, allow students to read the story into the computer so that other students may listen to it.

9. Since this book is so expensive to print, the teacher or another adult will edit each book before it is printed. Each teacher develops their own way of editing. I prefer the students to put their books in a tray after the handwritten draft is completed. When I find a few minutes during the day and during silent reading, I call the students over in their group. They read their story to me, and we discuss it. After they have typed their stories, they let me know, and I make a note by their name. Then I go into the computer program and do any final touch ups that are needed.

10. Once all books are edited, allow center time for students to view each other's finished products on the screen if they were able to read the story into the computer. If not, place printed books on a table and allow students to read during their free time.

1. This is a story about the ______________ family.
2. They left England in ______________.
3. They left England and came to America to find _______________ _____________________.
4. Ships brought items from ______________________ that they did not have in America.
5. Indians died of ______________ .
6. _________________ was an important meeting place of the town.
7. They traveled on ________________ roads.
8. Floors of houses were made of __________________ pounded until it was firm.
9. Kids slept in the _____________.
10. Fireplaces were used for ___________________ and __________________________.
11. ______________ worked on the farm.
12. They traded for things they could not grow on the farm like __________________ and ____________.
13. Their _________________ taught them to write and read the Bible.
14. For fun, they played with ___________________________ and carved __________________.
15. Horses were used to _____________________ and _________________________.
16. Indians were their _____________________ and helped them to learn better ways to _____________.
17. All of their clothes were ___________________.
18. Their mother spun thread into __________________ to make their clothes.
19. ________________ were used to look far away.
20. They made their own buckets and barrels from ______________________.
21. They used a _________ to loosen dirt in their garden.

Answer Key
1. Weston
2. 1635
3. religious freedom
4. England
5. smallpox
6. church
7. dirt
8. dirt
9. loft
10. cooking and for warmth (heating)
11. Everyone in the family
12. salt and candlesticks
13. mother
14. corn-husk dolls and carved wood
15. plow and for transportation
16. friends farm
17. homemade
18. cloth
19. spyglasses
20. wood
21. hoe


Introduce the narrative checklist found in the Associated File as you assist students with self-assessment as they write their E-books. The purpose of this assessment is not for a grade, but to guide students to reach for higher quality products and understanding. If you need to take a grade at this point, equate a value to each section of the checklist (see Associated File), but allow students to improve their work through self-assessment before you actually score it. It is also helpful for students to score their own work. This will help them evaluate the quality of their work based upon the criteria. I usually give students a pass/fail grade in social studies because this is just an introduction to the cultural differences between the 1600šs and the 1900šs. I have included a storybook rubric that I use for a language arts grade. The worksheet will be scored using the traditional grading scale.
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