Keys to Jamestown
Main Subject Area: Social Studies
Additional Subjects: Language Arts
Duration of Lesson: Two 50- to 60-minute sessions
Additional Subject Area Standard(s):
• Students will define the terms “collaboration,” “community,” and “change” and explore how these ideas were demonstrated by the peoples of the Jamestown settlement.
– Coin of the Month for March 2007, highlighting the Jamestown commemorative $5 coin.
– Coin images from the "Jamestown Anniversary Coins" worksheet.
– Jamestown Challenge quiz at
• Computers with Internet Access (if available)
• The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation at www.jamestown-yorktown.state.va.us
• The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities at www.apva.org
– 1607: A New Look at Jamestown by Karen Lange
– Explore Colonial Jamestown with Elaine Landau by Elaine Landau
– The Jamestown Adventure: Accounts of the Virginia Colony, 1605–1614
• Chart Paper (1 sheet per group and 3 sheets for Classroom Discussion)
• Coin images (1 copy per group and 1 copy for classroom discussion). (Download the “Jamestown Anniversary Coins” worksheet, an Acrobat PDF.)
Coins Used in Lesson:
Grade Level(s): 6-8
1. Write one of each the following words at the top of a piece of chart paper (one word per piece of paper): “Collaboration,” “Community,” and “Change.” Ask the students to take a few minutes to think about what each word means to them. How do these things impact their daily lives?
2. After think time, have students brainstorm their responses. Note their responses on the chart paper, leaving room for definitions.
3. Below each title on the charts, help the class to define each of the words. (Collaboration means working together, community is a neighborhood or group of people who share a common interest, and change is when things are no longer the same as they had been.) Keep the definitions on display.
4. Help the students to make connections between the words and to see how they relate to one another. (Communities are impacted by change; collaboration can change a community).
5. Briefly state where Jamestown is located, the date Jamestown was founded (1607), and that 2007 is the 400th anniversary of the town’s settlement.
6. Divide the class into groups of 4 to 6 students. Distribute the “Jamestown Anniversary Coins” worksheet, 1 sheet per group.
7. Ask the students to begin thinking about how they see collaboration, community, and change depicted on the coins shown on the worksheet.
8. Assign each group one word, either “collaboration,” “community,” or “change.” Give each group a sheet of chart paper and markers.
9. Using the selected text, coin images, and possibly information from the Internet, have each group discuss how its assigned idea was at work in Jamestown and how the Jamestown coins depict the concept.
10. Have the groups use their chart paper to define, illustrate, and create a visual aid for a class presentation, to be given during the next session. Remind the students to include two central ideas: how the Jamestown settlement exemplified collaboration, community, or change, and how the idea is depicted on the Jamestown commemorative coins.
1. Revisit the class definitions of collaboration, community, and change. Briefly review the founding of Jamestown based on material covered in class readings and discussions.
2. Have each group present its word and visual aid to the class. Encourage the student presenters to highlight the way collaboration, community, or change impacted Jamestown as well as how the Jamestown coin designs depict the idea.
3. Once all the students have made their presentations, revisit the class definitions from the previous session. Ask the students for examples of each word that were found in Jamestown itself and in the coin designs. Record class ideas on the chart paper.
4. Ask the students:
5. Have students make these connections visible on the chart paper. They can draw lines connecting ideas, circle key or repeated words, etc. Respond to any student questions.
6. Have students compose a letter as if they were a member of the original Jamestown community.
7. The letter may be started in class and completed at home as an extension of the class discussion.
8. When the letters are finished, have students share their letters, display them around the classroom, or include them on the teacher’s Web site or in a class newsletter.
Assessment / Evaluation:
Differentiated Learning Options:
Have students work in pairs or individually to take the "Jamestown Challenge" online quiz.