Jamestown Fort: Finding History
K-12 Objectives | Materials Needed | Procedures | Assessment | Related Resources
Discipline: United States History
Specific Lesson Topic: The early history of the Jamestown Fort
Methodology: Critical Thinking
- Identify the location of the original Jamestown Fort.
- Identify artifacts from archeological exploration of the Jamestown Fort location.
- Construct a short fictional account about life among Jamestown's first inhabitants.
- Background reading for the teacher
Other ways to set up this lesson include a graphic demonstration of the archeological dig at the Jamestown site and a preview of artifacts found at the Jamestown Fort site.
Graphic demonstration of the dig site - Display or have students visit, The Virtual Jamestown Inside the Fort tour. This page requires Quicktime to view.
Pictures of the site - A second option for setting the lesson would be to have students visit Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project. By viewing the pictures and graphic representations of the Jamestown fort, students will be ready to proceed with the lesson.
Note - An on-line version of this lesson is available for students
- As an opening activity have students respond to three inquiries about the Jamestown Fort. These inquiries should guide the students' search of the following two web sites, Virtual Jamestown and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project.
Inquiries on the Jamestown Fort
- What was the exact date of the founding of James Cittie (also called Jamestown Fort)?
- List artifacts that have been found in archeological digs at the site of the Jamestown Fort.
- Describe the design of the Jamestown Fort.
Students will use artifacts found at the site of the Jamestown Fort and historic accounts of life at the fort to write a piece of historical fiction. Use the following criteria to help direct students' writing. The story should in some way describe life in the fort and should meet the following criteria.
- It should be original.
- The content should be plausible.
- The story should include an appropriate context description of historical characters, artifacts, and events.
Students will have access to the names of the people who lived in the Fort. They will also have access to short narratives about life in the Fort.
All the web resources students will use for the writing assignment can be found at the two sites featured in this activity. Links to the pages at these sites are built into the student directions. The student writing directions are below. The links needed for each step in the activity can be written on the board or bookmarked on the computer where the student is working.
Student writing directions
- Step 1 - Identify historical characters for your story. Captain John Smith's records contain the names and occupations of the original Jamestown Fort inhabitants.
- Step 2 - Secondary historic accounts of the landing, building, and first years of the fort should help you develop a story line or a plot for your story.
- Step 3 - Pictures of some of the artifacts found at the site of the Jamestown Fort hold clues about what life was like for the inhabitants. Look at these pictures to help conceptualize what life was like for the inhabitants of the Jamestown Fort.
- Step 4- Organize your work using a writing organizer.
- Step 5- Write your story. It should be 2 - 5 pages. The story must include historic figures, incidents, and concepts, about the story timeline should be fiction.
- Students' can complete a quiz on the Jamestown Fort. The questions on this quiz are taken from the two sites featured in this lesson.
- Use a rubric to evaluate students' writing. This rubric can be used by the teacher or as a self-assessment by the student.
- Discuss strategies for promoting writing in a history class.
- Consult with language arts/English education faculty to discuss appropriate strategies to encourage and assess student writing.
- Develop a new assessment rubric either for the writing exercise.
- Design a historical fiction lesson on an assigned topic.
- An interactive series of lessons on the Jamestown colony
Virtual Jamestown Colony - Comprehensive units designed for use in United States History classes
This module created by John K. Lee of the University of Virginia.