Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Jamestown on the Internet

Christine Sermons
Bay District Schools


The purpose of this lesson is for students to understand the conflicts and problems associated with the founding of colonies and the clash of technologically and culturally different civilizations which occurred in this colonization process.


The student understands how factors such as culture and technology influence the perception of places and regions.

The student understands how cultures differ in their use of similar environments and resources.


-Computer with Internet access
-Large screen T.V. connected to the computer
-Handout on notetaking (see sample in Associated File)
-Hard-copies of -History of Jamestown- pages from the Jamestown Internet site (
-Copies of primary sources written by John Smith concerning Jamestown (available in most textbooks, or see the first-hand accounts available at the Internet site -Virtual Jamestown- at
-White drawing paper for brochures
-Pencil with eraser and colored pencils for student use
-Rubric for brochure assessment (see Associated File)


1. Become familiar with the Internet site(s) mentioned in the lesson.
2. Prepare needed materials prior to the inception of this lesson.
3. Prepare a large sample of the column notes to serve as a model for students.
4. Make copies of the rubric for brochure assessment and distribute to students prior to the assignment.


Prior to the lesson, review notetaking procedures. Show student samples of six-column notes (see Associated File). Tell the students that over the next couple of days they will be using the Internet (and other sources of information) to gather notes on the conflicts and problems associated with the founding of the Jamestown colony. Students will learn how a civilization's perception is influenced by their culture and technology, and will begin to see how different cultures use similar environments and resources to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

1. Find the Web page -Jamestown Rediscovery- at

2. Set up the computer with a connection to the large screen TV.

3. Cover a brief history of the Virginia Company using the -History of Jamestown- page at the above address. (Distribute copies of this brief history to the students prior to the lesson or cover it with them in class.)

4. Have students fold a piece of paper into six horizontal columns. Label the top of each column with the following topics: Location, The Fort, Native Americans, Settlers, Living Conditions of Native Americans, and Living Conditions of Settlers.
*As students view the Internet site, model how to collect notes that highlight 1) the cultural and technological aspects of the two societies, and 2) how and why the societies differed in their use of similar environments and resources.

5. View the page -Visiting Jamestown- which shows aerial photos and a map of the Chesapeake Bay area under the subtitle -Where is Jamestown?- (The subtitle -What is there to see?- contains substantial photos and information under the category -Olde Towne.- This page may be viewed later at the teacher's discretion.) Direct students to jot down notes on the features and resources available in the environment in the LOCATION section of their notes.

6. Using the -back- arrow, return to the homepage ( and view the page -Our Exhibits- which contains photographs of the archaelogical findings of Jamestown. This page contains two main subtitles, -National Geographic Exhibit- and the -Dale House Exhibit.- The -National Geographic Exhibit- site contains three categories: The Story, The People, and The Things. -The Story- contains information about the Location, Fort, and Town. -The Things- contains information about the archaelogical findings. Use these pages to help students gather information about THE FORT. Ask, -Can any insight be gained from these findings that helps us learn about the culture and perception of the settlers in Jamestown?- Discuss ideas with students, and have them jot down notes as applicable.

7. Use the category -The People- under the -National Geographic Exhibit- to lead a discussion on the Algonquains' presence in Jamestown. Short excerpts are provided on this page about Chief Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas. Additional information about the Algonquains can be gathered from the -History of Jamestown- page and from the category -Fair Trade- under the -Dale House Exhibit.- Show as many possible drawings of their dress, housing, etc. that can be found. Review the trade and goods pages as well. Ask, -What cultural and technological aspects can be identified? Discuss these aspects with the students and have them jot their ideas down under the column NATIVE AMERICANS.

8. View and discuss the appearance, armor, weapons, and group composition of the original SETTLERS. The -History of Jamestown- page contains a list of the earlier settlers (the original group and the first and second supply groups) and their occupations. The -Dale House Exhibit- contains a category on -Armor-, and the -National Geographic Exhibit- highlights the armor and weapons common to the settlers in the category -The Things.- -The People- cateogry of this same exhibit provides short sketches and images of John Smith, John Rolfe, and William Strachey. Again, discuss with students the cultural and technological aspects that can be identified from the text and photos. Have them record this information on their six-column chart.

9. Finally, view the -National Geographic Exhibit- and -Dale House Exhibit- to gather clues about the LIVING CONDITIONS of the Algonquians and the settlers. -The Things- category of the -National Geographic Exhibit- highlights some of the tools, household furnishings, and food indicative of the settlers. The -Dale House Exhibit- contains a specific category entitled -What the colonists ate.- Help the students gather information on how the settlers and Native Americans used the same environment and resources to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Any information gathered should be recorded in the students' notes.

10. After completing the above Internet research as a class, provide the students with additional reading materials, primary sources, and time to conduct further research. The Internet site -Virtual Jamestown- at provides the following topics under the category -Jamestown Experience:- Censuses, Contracts, Letters from John Rolfe and John Pory, State papers from Charles II, Laws, First-hand accounts of John Smith and others, Maps, and Images. Additional information on the fashions of that time period can be gleaned from the Internet address NOTE: The teacher may desire to conduct prior research at the library or media center in order to gather primary sources relating to Jamestown. Some of John Smith's writings about Virginia are contained in the following titles: -His True Relation of Virginia- (1608), -Map of Virginia- (1612), -General History of Virginia- (1624), and -True Travels- (1630).

11. After completing additional research ask students to create and complete charts or Venn Diagrams on the similarities and differences between the two cultures for homework. Have them focus on: a) how the culture and technology of each society influenced its perception of the Chesapeake Bay area, and b) how each society used the environmental features and resources available in the area to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Remind students that the similarities and differences identified should be substantially supported by the research contained within their six-column notes.

12. Have students share the similarities and differences they identified. Chart their responses on the board or overhead. Emphasize the connections they were able to make between the cultural and technological influences on perception, and the different uses of similar environments and resources by the settlers and Algonquians. Discuss how these factors led to the inevitable cultural conflict or clash during the colonization process.

13. Pass out copies of the brochure rubric and present the following directions for the culminating activity: -Using your six-column notes, create a six-sided brochure on the cultural clash at Jamestown. The brochure should include an introduction about the cultural clash between the settlers and Algonquians, details explaining the cultural and technological perceptions of these two cultures, and details about the different uses of similar environments and resources by the settlers and Algonquians. The conclusion should analyze how these factors influenced the inevitable cultural conflict at Jamestown. You may use brochure-making software such as Printshop or design your own brochure with the white paper and colored pencils provided.-

14. Discuss with the students the a) expectations outlined in the rubric, and b) the deadline for completion.


The students' brochures will be assessed using a rubric which details the following four areas:

a. Organization

b. Cultural and Technological Influences on Perception

c. Various Uses of Similar Resources and Environments

d. Analysis of Cultural Conflict

The maximum amount of points for each area is 4. Scores can be converted to grades using the following scale:

16-14 points = A
13-11 points = B
10 - 8 points = C
7 - 5 points = D
4 points or less = Must do brochure over


This lesson serves as an introduction for a larger unit on the development of the American Colonial System and the role/effect this system played in the subsequent history of cultural conflicts in North America.

Web Links

Web supplement for Jamestown on the Internet
Jamestown Web Site

Web supplement for Jamestown on the Internet
Virtual Jamestown

Web supplement for Jamestown on the Internet

Attached Files

A sample of the six-column notes and the brochure rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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