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Colonial American Careers


Colonial American Life and Careers looks at Colonial America from the first settlement at Roanoke until the Revolutionary War.   This semester will include:


  • Settlers: Roanoke and Jamestown
  • Plymouth Pilgrims: The Mayflower; the First Thanksgiving
  • Witch Trial Magistrates: Salem Witch Trials
  • Tavern-Keepers: Colonial Food and Beverages
  • Shopkeepers, Merchants and Peddlers: Colonial Economy
  • Printers and Publishers: Freedom of Speech, Apprenticeships
  • Pirates and Privateers: The Golden Age of Piracy

Ages: 2 age groups (9-12yo. and 12+yo.)

Teacher: Sarah Peterson

Cost: See pricing chart

To register, click here




More details below:


With the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th Centuries came the Colonization of the Americas. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh explored a region in North America naming the area Virginia. The land was claimed, named and mapped with the intention of sending colonists there to live. This lesson plan covers life in the colonies as the settlers struggled with starvation, harsh winters, and the Native Americans.


Topics covered include:  

  • Arriving at Roanoke
  • Roanoke – The Lost Colony
  • Jamestown Settlement
  • James Towne – In Honor of the King
  • Life in Jamestown; Life as a Settler
  • First, Second and Third Supplies
  • The Starving Time
  • Patience and Deliverance
  • John Rolfe and Tobacco
  • John Rolfe and Pocahontas
  • Tobacco – Labor Needs
  • Servitude and Slavery
  • The Powhatan Indians: Tension Builds
  • The Powhatan Attacks of 1622


Activities Include:

  • Packing for the Colonies
  • Roanoke and Jamestown Venn-Diagram
  • Learn Some Powhatan!
  • Modernize the Spelling and Interpret the Meaning!
  • Job Application – Settler
  • Review Worksheet – Settlers
  • Bingo Review Game
  • Popular Jamestown Names: Seek, Find and Chart
  • Coloring Page!



What was it like to be a Plymouth Pilgrim?  Why did the Puritans choose to leave England and make their lives in America?  This lesson plan covers the background information leading up to the Mayflower voyage, life as a Pilgrim and the First Thanksgiving.


Topics covered include:

  • Anglicans and Separatists
  • The Separatists Separate
  • The Mayflower Voyage
  • The Mayflower Sets Sail
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • Well-Known Pilgrims
  • William Bradford – Arriving in the New World
  • William Bradford – Leader and Author
  • The First Winter
  • Moving to the Settlement
  • The Pilgrims meet the Native American
  • Squanto and the Pilgrims
  • The First Thanksgiving: Winslow’s
  • The First Thanksgiving: Bradford’s Account


Activities Include:

  • Write a Classroom Compact
  • Seek and Find: The Mayflower Compact
  • Critical Thinking
  • Job Application – Plymouth Pilgrims
  • Interpret a 16th Century Recipe
  • Review Game: True or False
  • Complete a Timeline!
  • Plymouth Pilgrims Worksheet
  • Write an Acrostic Poem
  • Write a Note of Thanks
  • Play Nine Men’s Morris
  • Coloring Pages
  • Examine the Mayflower Compact




Although Salem was technically under British rule in 1692, in reality the Puritans were more or less self-governing.  The Puritans enforced their strict rules on non-puritan settlers as well, and often drove out those who were not willing to follow them.   In 1692, the people of Salem focused on ridding their community of all citizens who were accused of practicing witchcraft.


Topics covered include:

  • Puritans in England and America
  • Laws of the Puritans
  • The Salem Witch Trials – How It Began
  • Arrests and Examinations
  • The Process for Putting a Witch on Trial in Salem in 1692
  • The Court and the Judges
  • The Associate Magistrates
  • Cotton Mather – Minister and Writer
  • The Accusers and the Accused
  • The End of the Salem Witch Trials
  • The Aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials


Activities Include:

  • Magistrate Job Application
  • Comprehension Worksheet
  • A Witch or Bewitched?
  • Graphing Activity: Complete a Pie Chart
  • Speak Like a Puritan
  • Choose a Puritan Name
  • Bingo Review Game
  • Puritan Children – Modern Children – A Comparison Activity
  • Create a Newspaper!
  • Read and Analyze Depositions Against Rebecca Nurse




From the time that they first opened in Colonial America through the beginning of the Revolutionary War, taverns served as an unofficial gathering place for residents, travelers, politicians, and rebels.  Colonial taverns played an important role in the development of American.


Topics covered include:

  • Inns, Taverns, and Ordinaries: A Place to Socialize
  • Licensing Requirements for Tavern Keepers
  • Colonial Tavern Food and Beverages
  • Food Preservation
  • Paying the Tavern Bill
  • Pre-Revolutionary Taverns


Activities Include:

  • Job Application
  • Create Your Own Menu
  • Writing Prompt
  • Bingo Review Game
  • Review Worksheet



From the time that the first colonists arrived in America in the 16th century, acquiring the necessary goods and supplies was a real challenge.  This lesson plan covers games and activities relating to the Colonial Shopkeepers.


Topics covered include:

  • Early Colonists – Acquiring Goods
  • The Navigation Acts
  • Trading and Bartering
  • Colonists’ Attempts at Money
  • Merchants vs. Shopkeepers vs. Peddlers
  • Colonial Peddlers
  • The Peddler’s Reputation
  • The First General Stores
  • Well-Known Colonial Merchants: Mary Alexander and Peter Faneuil
  • Examples of Colonial Shopkeepers


Activities Include:

  • Job Application
  • Create a Business Plan!
  • Trade Day!
  • Create Your Business Sign
  • Venn Diagram
  • Match the Colonial Sign to the Business
  • Review Worksheet
  • Money Math
  • Review Bingo Game
  • Writing Prompt
  • Bartering Simulation
  • Coloring Pages
  • Organize Your General Store



What type of documents did Colonial Printers produce?  How did one become a printer?  Who were some of the well-known Colonial Printers?  This lesson plan covers the careers of printers and publishers and examines the importance of the printed word in Colonial America.


Topics covered include:

  • History of Printing in Colonial America
  • What Was Being Printed?
  • The First Newspapers
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Colonial Printer’s Supplies and Equipment
  • The Jobs of Printers and Publishers
  • Apprenticeships in Colonial America
  • Female Apprentices and Pauper Apprentices
  • The Apprenticeship Contracts
  • Benjamin Franklin – An Apprentice in Boston
  • Benjamin Franklin: Printer and Publisher
  • Well-Known Female Printers and Publishers
  • Other Well-Known Printers and Publishers


Activities Include:

  • Complete Job Application
  • Be a Colonial Compositor!
  • Review Worksheet
  • Analyze the First Amendment!
  • Coloring Pages
  • Create Cartoons From Poor Richards’ Almanac!
  • Review Game
  • Translate Silence Dogood’s Letter to the Editor
  • Create a Newspaper!
  • Fact or Opinion?



1650 to 1730 is known as the Golden Age of Piracy, a time when pirates ruled the seas.  Most of the well-known pirates in history came from this period of time.  In the early days of pirate activity, port cities in Colonial America actually welcomed pirates!  Pirates came ashore and spent their money on goods and services provided by the colonists which greatly helped the struggling colonial economy.  This lesson focuses on sea robbers while the colonies were young.


Topics covered include:

  • The Seas, The Ships, The Slave Trade
  • The Golden Age of Piracy
  • Pirates, Privateers, Buccaneers and Pirate Hunters
  • Life of a Pirate: The Pirate Articles
  • Life on the Ship
  • Pirate Ships
  • Pirate Colors
  • Myth vs. Reality
  • William Kidd – Privateer
  • Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, Black Bart, Charles Vane, Calico Jack – Pirates
  • Mary Read and Anne Bonny- Female Pirate
  • Pirate Havens
  • The End of the Golden Age of Piracy


Activities Include:

  • Job Application
  • Pirate and Privateer Review Worksheet
  • Try Some Pirate Food
  • Pirate Code
  • Charting Activity: The Death of a Pirate
  • Pirate Speak
  • Design Your Own Colors!
  • Venn Diagram: Pirates and Privateers
  • Analyze Stede Bonnet’s Monument
  • Review Game: Bingo Words and Clues
  • Triangular Trade Route Map Work
  • Pirate Scavenger Hunt
  • Coloring Pages