Activities to Teach Students About New England Colonies: Founding and Government

The New England Colonies were a vital part of the early American history, and teaching students about them can help them develop an appreciation and understanding of the unique culture and people who lived in those times. One of the best ways to teach students about the New England Colonies is through activities that make learning fun and engaging. Here are some fun and educational activities teachers can use to teach about the colonists’ founding and government.

1. Colonial Map Activity

One engaging activity you can use to teach students about the New England Colonies’ founding is a colonial map activity. In this activity, give students a blank map of New England and have them label and color each colony. Then, provide them with a list of important colonial events such as the arrival of the Pilgrims, signing of the Mayflower Compact, and the founding of Plymouth, the Boston Tea Party, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Students will then label each event on their maps, giving them a better understanding of New England’s colonial history.

2. Mayflower Compact Analytical Exercise

To teach students about the founding of the New England Colonies’ government, teachers can have students study the Mayflower Compact, the first document of self-government in the colonies. First, have students read and examine the document, then have them analyze the Compact by breaking it down into smaller sections. Ask students to identify the reasons for the document, the importance of each section, and what the Compact meant for the colonies’ government.

3. Historical Role-Playing

Role-playing is a great way to get students engaged and excited about learning. To teach students about the founding of the New England Colonies and their government, teachers can assign different colonial roles to their class. These roles could include the Governor, the Minister, the Town Clerk, and the Militia Captain, among others. Students will research their roles, create their colonial outfits, and then use their historical research to act out their assigned roles. This activity will allow students to get a feel of what life was like in colonial New England, and how the founding and government worked.

4. Virtual Field Trip

Teaching about the New England Colonies is made easier by the availability of many virtual resources, including a virtual field trip. Teachers can use virtual field trips to help students learn about the founding and government of the New England Colonies without the need for travel or even leaving the classroom. Virtual field trips can be done in real-time, allowing students to interact with historical artifacts and reenactors that bring history alive. Smithsonian Learning Lab and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are excellent places to look for free virtual resources.

In conclusion, teaching about the New England Colonies’ founding and government is an exciting and important part of American history that can be brought to life through engaging activities. From colonial map activities to virtual field trips and historical role-playing, teachers can encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of how the New England Colonies were founded, their government, and the unique culture of the people who lived in those times. By doing these activities, students can develop a lifelong passion for history.

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