Beacon Unit Plan Library

A Colony Is Born

Katie Koehnemann
Beacon Learning Center (Bay District Schools)


What influenced the early colonists to make the decision to settle in the New World? What difficulties did they encounter and how were they able to rise above the adversities to secure a strong foundation for our great nation? Come explore Colonial America through the building of timelines and investigating primary and secondary sources. This study of significant events in the colonization of North America and the aspects of everyday life in Colonial America is designed for students to gather, record, and organize their own Colonial Notebook. Students will take on the role of colonist in a given region and work with other 'colonists' of the same region to develop a report and presentation. The study will take students through the life and times of those early settlers and will have them preparing a colonial meal representative of their region of focus.


The planned duration of this activity is 14 days.

Associated Files

Unit Plan Overview (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Diagnostic Assessment (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Summative A (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Summative B (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Summative C (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Summative D (PDF)File Extension:pdf

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 - Hull of a Ship
This is the introductory lesson to the Unit Plan: A Colony Is Born. In this lesson, a bulletin board for the unit will be started, Colonial Notebooks will be presented to each student, and a pre-test on colonization will be administered.

Lesson 2 - Sez Who?
This is the second lesson in a unit on colonization. It establishes baseline knowledge of students' understanding of primary and secondary sources and the likenesses and differences of them with regard to a selected historical event.

Lesson 3 - Marking Time
This lesson swiftly travels through time from 1492 to 1607. Significant events are marked on a timeline, note taking is modeled, and a focus on reasons for leaving England for the New World is clarified with the use of a graphic organizer.

Lesson 4 What Went Wrong?
Lesson 4 focus is on Roanoke and Jamestown. Students examine what worked well, what did not, and significant events of the two colonies. Students emulate modeled note taking, use a T-chart for organizing the information, and make additions to timelines.

Lesson 5 - Dear Mem
The primary informational source of journal writing is the focus. Journal entry traits and rubric expectations are established. Identified and charted by students, they'll be used to assess examples and be a guide for students' required journal writing.

Lesson 6 -To Leave or Not to Leave
A pivotal point of the unit. Students, assigned a reason for coming to the New World, will utilize the resources in their notebook to establish an identity. Three regions settled will be identified, and students will associate with a particular region.

Lessons 7 - 10 What's My Line?
These four lessons represent the guided resource time that groups need to research their assigned regions, complete the regional guide, and prepare their group presentations.

Lesson 11 Group Presentations and Summatives
Group presentations will be for the next three days. Classroom students take notes on the presentations and play a card game for content review. On day four, the short answer summative assessment is given, and notebooks are turned in.

Web Links

Students compare primary and secondary sources.
From Colonial Crossing to Kitty Hawk Web Lesson

Students learn about significant events in the colonization of North America.
Treasures From the Past Web Lesson

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