Interdependence: A Colonial Example
With this interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the transition to the New World, students give oral presentations from the perspective of colonial tradesman.
- Grades: 3–5
For 5-6 weeks, our students work on a comprehensive unit involving Colonial America. It involves an interdisciplinary approach that combines social studies, research, reading, writing, dramatic arts, technology, and math. We begin this unit by focusing on why people came to the "New World," why interaction between the "Old" and "New World" affected both sides of the Atlantic, and how the settlers learned that they were dependent on one another, the Native Americans, the physical geography, and the weather.
- Research a particular colonial trade and write a report based on their research.
- Present an oral report as though they were a craftsman, explaining their craft and what it was like to live in Colonial America.
- Understand that colonial settlers were dependent upon one another, their environment, and other peoples in the region.
- Students will be able to explain how we are also interdependent today.
Lesson Plans for this Unit
During the unit, our classroom becomes a small town and each student takes on the identity of a colonist. The students apprentice themselves to various imaginary master tradesmen and learn that trade. At the conclusion of this, the students become journeymen by passing a test of their skills (by giving a first-person oral presentation based on the research they have done). They dress as their characters, make a sign for their new shops, and share their experiences as apprentices in front of the entire "town."