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Colonial America


Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. This week's sites are among the best on the Web for teaching about Colonial America.


  1. Primary Source Documents Pertaining To Early American History
    http://personal.pitnet.net/primarysources
    The University Lake School in Wisconsin hosts this awesome collection of primary source documents from colonial America. The collection of chronologically arranged links offers an intensive look at the philosophical and literary traditions that influenced the thoughts of colonial Americans. Isaac Jogues's description of New Netherlands in 1644, for example, is a striking account.

  2. You Be The Historian
    http://americanhistory.si.edu/hohr/springer
    The National Museum of American History hosts this virtual experience of colonial historiography designed for elementary and middle school students. The Springer family of colonial Delaware left many clues that tell what their lives were like. Students get the chance to examine documents and artifacts and practice drawing conclusions based on those clues. The support and feedback the site gives students the opportunity to learn a great deal about the content and process of colonial historiography. When they are done studying the past, students can speculate about what historians in the next century will discover about their own lives!

  3. Old Sturbridge Village
    http://www.osv.org
    Just as Colonial Williamsburg provides a picture of southern colonial life, Old Sturbridge Village does the same for New England. This living history museum immerses visitors in life 200 years ago. The Sights & Sounds page offers an interesting collection of Sturbridge images, and the JAVA-based virtual Tour an 1830s Village provides an awesome example of the educational uses of technology as it allows visitors to experience life in a colonial village from the comfort of a modern home or classroom.

  4. Mayflower Web Pages
    http://members.aol.com/calebj/mayflower.html
    This comprehensive look at the crew and passengers of the Mayflower includes passenger lists, diaries, inventories, governing documents, and a wealth of historical information from the voyage itself through the establishment of Plymouth Plantation. There's lots of fascinating information here, including a cross section of the Mayflower and biographies of its crew members. For more information about life in the Massachusetts Bay colony, you might want to visit Plimoth-on-Web , the online presence of the Plimoth Plantation living history museum.

  5. The Lost Colony Of Roanoke
    http://tqjunior.advanced.org/3826/intro.html
    This ThinkQuest site, subtitled "A Mystery in History," takes students on an interactive journey back in time to Roanoke Island, off the current North Carolina coast. Established by the English in 1585, the settlement apparently just disappeared sometime between 1587 and 1590. What happened to the 300 inhabitants of the Roanoke Island colony? Why did they disappear? Can you solve the mystery?

  6. Colonial Williamsburg
    http://www.history.org
    Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, the definitive living history museum of colonial America, presents this comprehensive resource on daily colonial life. Students will enjoy browsing the Almanack, in which they meet colonists and learn about their lives and their history, and the Archaeology pages, in which they learn everything they always wanted to know about the process of learning about those lives. Teachers, however, will probably find a visit to the Teach History page most worthwhile. There, teachers will find exhaustive materials on colonial life, including lots of support materials and ideas for lessons and electronic field trips.

  7. The Soap Factory
    http://www.alcasoft.com/soapfact/history.html
    The Soap Factory, an excellent site on colonial soap making, offers a comprehensive history of soap, dating from around 3000 B.C. Scroll down to read about soap making in colonial America. The information is fascinating -- and so detailed that you and your students can use it to create your own soap-making activity!

  8. Archiving Early America
    http://earlyamerica.com/index.html
    This comprehensive site offers a priceless collection of primary sources from the colonial period of the United States, including documents, maps, portraits, and writings. The Digital Library features images of important people, places, and events from early American history, and The Early America Review provides "a journal of fact and opinion on the people, issues, and events of 18th century America." After exploring the elements of the site, students might want to test their knowledge with the site's crosswords or Join the Talk at the Town Crier, a forum on colonial America.

  9. Seven Tours Through Historic Philadelphia
    http://www.ushistory.org/districts/index.html
    The Independence Hall Association offers these seven virtual walking tours through Philadelphia, one of the country's most historic cities. The clickable street maps allow visitors to select sites of interest and view images and text elaborating each stop.The tours, which include a stroll through the Historic District, offer a nice supplement to a study of the middle colonies.

    Article by Walter McKenzie
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2000 Education World

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    03/20/2000