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Teacher Feature

Keys to Jamestown


Students will use the 2007 Jamestown Commemorative Coin to learn about the Jamestown settlement. 


As a class, discuss the terms "collaboration" (working together), "community" (neighborhood or group of people who share a common interest), and "change" (things are no longer the same as they had been).  Have the students share examples from their lives.  Record the definitions and student responses on chart paper.  If necessary, guide the students to make connections between the words and how they relate to one another.  (Communities are impacted by change; collaboration can change a community).

Using a classroom map, have the students identify where Jamestown is located (Virginia).  Tell the students that Jamestown was founded in 1607 and that 2007 was the 400th anniversary of the town's settlement.

Display the 2007 Jamestown Commemorative Coin.  Tell the students that the obverse of the five-dollar coin shows what Captain John Smith might have looked like talking with an American Indian.  The back features the Jamestown Memorial Church, the only building from the original settlement whose foundation is still standing. 

Read the March Coin of the Month to learn more about Jamestown, the first English settlement in America that lasted more than just a few years.  Suggest that the terms you discussed (collaboration, community, and change) might have been the keys to Jamestown's success.

Divide the class into three groups.  Using information from the Coin of the Month page, class discussions, and available classroom resources, invite the student groups to find examples that show "collaboration," "community," or "change" in the Jamestown colony.  Record student findings on chart paper and discuss as a class. 

Have the students use their research and class discussions to summarize their findings. 

As an extension, have the class create an illustrated timeline of the Jamestown settlement.  Students then select an event from the timeline and compose three journal entries explaining details of the event as if they were a member of the original Jamestown community. 

Make a Connection

Have your students learn more about about the location of the first 13 colonies with the Unite These States lesson plan for grades 2 and 3. 

Use the Jamestown Challenge game to test your student's knowledge of Jamestown as they "sail" to the New World. 

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