John Smith – Primary Source Activities
Read excerpts by the great leader John Smith. Great way to learn about the struggles of the early Jamestown settlers and their voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. This lesson encourages students to think like a historian.
Zero prep! Files are editable, if you desire to make some changes.
- Primary Source Excerpts from Generall Historie of Virginia
- Reading check questions (including historical thinking questions)
- Summary and Vocabulary activity sheet
- H.I.P.P.O.S. Analysis activity sheet (Historical background, Intended Audience, Purpose, Point of view, Other, So what?)
- ANSWER KEY for ALL activities
How to use this activity
Since this activity includes a primary resource and three accompanying activities, it could be difficult to complete it all in one day. However, you could read the primary source (individually or as a class) and discuss. Then, students complete one (maybe two) of the activities. Finally, give the last activity as homework (or do it the second day).
Alternative activity ideas:
- If distance learning: students read primary source and complete the activities at home (could discuss on Zoom if possible)
- Read the primary source as a class and then conduct a Socratic Seminar (use the activities as homework)
- Read the primary source in pairs, then have a round table discussion (student led, but teacher prompts historical thinking questions); do activities in class or as homework
- Read the primary source for homework, discuss in class; do activities in pairs
- Students read the primary source and complete activities; in pairs, present H.I.P.P.O.S.
- Print the pages, annotate the primary source, take notes on the sides, and complete the activities
- Students find another primary source that discusses the same historical event but is written from a different point of view; discuss (or write an essay)
- Read primary source, then have a game show where the teacher asks questions (using the accompanying activities) and teams have to race to answer the question (with some modification, could be adapted into a Jeopardy-like game)
- After completing the primary source and activities, create a simulation so students can understand how the Spanish and Aztecs might have felt during this time period
Students will be able to…
- Understand that the Jamestown settlers were the first English explorers to colonize in the New World and the difference between them and the Pilgrims and Puritans in Massachusetts
- Understand the voyage the Jamestown settlers made and the islands they visited on the way
- The difficult time they had establishing a fort and the troubles between the settlers and the Native Americans
- Think like a historian
- Read, comprehend, and analyze primary source using textual evidence to support an argument
- Summarize a primary source
- Improve their vocabulary
- Improve their ability to read and analyze AP US History DBQ documents
9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Primary Source Activities, DBQs, Printables
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