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Ch 2: American Exploration & Colonialism Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

Included in this chapter are lessons and lesson plans on the early exploration and colonization of America. Each lesson or lesson plan will be useful for teaching your students about a key topic relevant to this subject.

American Exploration & Colonialism Lesson Plans - Chapter Summary

If you are preparing to teach your students about the history of early America--especially its exploration and colonization--feel free to use the lesson plans you can find in this chapter. These lesson plans will be a tremendous asset for teaching your students about the major topics they will need to know in order to understand the early history of America. Some of these topics are:

  • Native American history
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • Early colonization
  • The French and Indian Wars
  • The XYZ Affair

Each of these lesson plans is complemented by a short lesson on that very topic. These lessons are a great way to go over this information with your students when teaching these topics in your classroom.

How It Helps

  • Historical information: Provides you and your students with key historical information on these events in early America
  • Event summaries: Summarizes some of the major events that your students will need to understand in order to grasp this subject
  • Cause and effect: Elucidates the historical causes of these events, and their lasting significance on American history

How It Works

This helpful resource offers teachers lesson plan outlines with relevant tools to make planning early American history lessons easy.

  • Find lesson plans for specific early American history topics you want to cover in class.
  • Formulate your history class outline using the suggested classroom tools offered in the lesson plans.
  • Share the related early American history lessons for each lesson plan with students in class to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Use related lesson quizzes to ensure your students understand the most important historical concepts from the lessons.
  • Engage your students with relevant early American history-related activities, discussion questions or other materials found in the lesson plan outline.

45 Lessons in Chapter 2: American Exploration & Colonialism Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Jamestown Lesson Plan

1. Jamestown Lesson Plan

This lesson plan provides two activities, an extension, a quiz, and numerous discussion topics and questions that will help your students learn a lot about Jamestown.

The Settlement of Jamestown Colony

2. The Settlement of Jamestown Colony

In 1607, the London Company settled the colony of Jamestown. The settlers overcame many odds to become the first permanent, English settlement in North America. In this lesson, learn about the failures and successes of Jamestown before it was taken over by the Crown.

John Smith Lesson Plan

3. John Smith Lesson Plan

This lesson plan provides you with discussion topics, questions, a quiz, and an activity that will help students better understand Captain John Smith and separate the man from the myth.

Who Was Captain John Smith of Jamestown? - History & Overview

4. Who Was Captain John Smith of Jamestown? - History & Overview

Captain John Smith was an English adventurer and explorer who helped make Jamestown the first permanent English colony in America. Learn about his struggles in Jamestown, his various adventures, and why he is an important figure in Colonial American history.

Lost Colony of Roanoke Lesson Plan

5. Lost Colony of Roanoke Lesson Plan

While your students may think that Jamestown was the first English colony in the modern United States, this lesson on the Lost Colony of Roanoke introduces the archaeological and bureaucratic challenges that historians often face.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke: Mystery, Theories & History

6. The Lost Colony of Roanoke: Mystery, Theories & History

This lesson discusses the first English settlement in North America. Learn more about the mysterious disappearance of the colonists of Roanoke and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Jamestown Colony Games

7. Jamestown Colony Games

This lesson consists of activities, recipes, and games students can evaluate and experience as they learn what life was like as a child in the Jamestown Colony.

Jamestown Activity Ideas

8. Jamestown Activity Ideas

Teaching students about Jamestown can be fun and engaging, but coming up with fresh activities to support learning can be a challenge. This lesson gives ideas for hands-on learning coupled with high-level thinking skills.

Mayflower Compact: Definition, Summary & History

9. Mayflower Compact: Definition, Summary & History

The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document in what is now the United States. It even helped establish the direct election of representatives in the colonies that eventually carried over to the new nation! Learn what the Compact was about and why it was necessary.

Mayflower Lesson Plan

10. Mayflower Lesson Plan

Teach your students about the Mayflower with this video-based lesson. Students learn about the misplaced Plymouth Colony and its escaped indentured servants, then apply their new knowledge to an activity.

The Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock Settlement

11. The Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock Settlement

Find out how much you know about the Pilgrims and their voyage. In this lesson, you'll learn about the misplaced Plymouth Colony, its escaped indentured servants, and the Wampanoag Indians who saved their lives.

Pilgrims Lesson Plan

12. Pilgrims Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to teach students who the Pilgrims were and how they lived. Students start off reading about Pilgrims, then watch an engaging video to dig more deeply into how the Pilgrims lived. Finish up with a fun application activity.

The Pilgrims: Definition, Plymouth & Overview

13. The Pilgrims: Definition, Plymouth & Overview

Who landed at Plymouth Rock? Learn who the Piligrims were and what motivated their trek to America, and the important role the journey has played in the American experience. Then test your learning with a short quiz.

Plymouth Colony: History, Facts & Religion

14. Plymouth Colony: History, Facts & Religion

Discover the Plymouth Colony established by the Pilgrims, a group of English separatists. Explore the hardships and successes of the Pilgrim colonists and learn about the creators of the Mayflower Compact and the first Thanksgiving.

Plymouth Rock Lesson Plan

15. Plymouth Rock Lesson Plan

Why is Plymouth Rock so important in our nation's history? This lesson plan uses a fact-filled text lesson to explain this to students while an activity gives them a chance to demonstrate comprehension of key facts.

Plymouth Rock: History & Overview

16. Plymouth Rock: History & Overview

Discover information about Plymouth Rock during this lesson. Take a closer look at the historical importance of the rock, what the rock represents, how it is protected and where it is located today.

William Bradford Lesson Plan

17. William Bradford Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to help you teach your students about colony founder William Bradford. Students will read a text lesson outlining his involvement with the Mayflower Compact, the first Thanksgiving, and other roles he had in early America. Discussion questions, a quiz, and activity help concepts stick.

Governor William Bradford: Writings & Role in the First Thanksgiving

18. Governor William Bradford: Writings & Role in the First Thanksgiving

William Bradford was one of the founders of Plymouth Colony in 1620. Learn about his involvement with the Mayflower Compact, the first Thanksgiving, his writings, and his role as governor of Plymouth Colony.

The Indian Wars Lesson Plan

19. The Indian Wars Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will learn about the American Indians' struggle with white settlers through wars and broken promises. This lesson includes a video, activity, and quiz.

The Indian Wars: Struggle Between Native Americans and Settlers

20. The Indian Wars: Struggle Between Native Americans and Settlers

As America expanded into the West, whites often encroached on Indian land and resources. Many Native Americans defended their territory, leading to a series of conflicts known as the Indian Wars.

King Philip's War Lesson Plan

21. King Philip's War Lesson Plan

If you are discussing English colonization and the clash between the English and Native Americans, this lesson plan explores one of the major conflicts, King Philip's War. Students will complete a reading assignment, participate in discussion questions, a debate and a quiz.

King Philip's War of 1675: Summary, Results & Timeline

22. King Philip's War of 1675: Summary, Results & Timeline

The United States has been involved in many terrible wars. The deadliest war in American history, considering the number of people involved, happened 200 years before the Civil War. Learn here about King Philip's War of 1675.

Spanish Colonies in America Lesson Plan

23. Spanish Colonies in America Lesson Plan

Was America once a Spanish colony? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to outline Spain's exploration of and presence in America. A mapping activity helps to solidify understanding.

Spanish Colonies in America & Africa

24. Spanish Colonies in America & Africa

The Spanish Empire was an extremely powerful force in history. In this lesson, we'll look at their colonies in the Americas and in Africa, and compare how these situations were similar or different.

Puritanism Lesson Plan

25. Puritanism Lesson Plan

This lesson plan explores the role Puritanism played in Colonial America. Students will watch an informative video lesson and participate in discussion questions. They will then engage in a group research project which culminates in the performance of a skit.

Puritanism in Colonial America: Beliefs & Definition

26. Puritanism in Colonial America: Beliefs & Definition

Puritanism was an important aspect of Colonial America. Learn about their early history, as well as their religious beliefs, society, politics, and problems as they tried to make successful colonies in the New World.

Puritans Lesson Plan for Elementary School

27. Puritans Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Help your students understand the Puritans and their journey with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson that explains the Puritans, work cooperatively to examine details, then do a project to show understanding.

Puritans History & Facts: Lesson for Kids

28. Puritans History & Facts: Lesson for Kids

Learn about the history of Puritans and the impact they had on the development of the United States of America. Learn why they left England, and what life was like for them once they did.

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan for Elementary School

29. Thanksgiving Lesson Plan for Elementary School

What is the history and significance of Thanksgiving? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to explain important points about Thanksgiving to students. An activity reinforces key points from the lesson.

13 Colonies Map Games & Activities

30. 13 Colonies Map Games & Activities

Learning about the 13 colonies can help students understand the growth and formation of the United States. Use these games and activities to help students remember the location of the 13 colonies and improve their map skills.

California Missions Lesson Plan for Elementary School

31. California Missions Lesson Plan for Elementary School

This lesson plan will help you teach students about the missions in California. A text lesson provides facts about California missions as students interact with content to deepen understanding. Finish with application and a quiz.

Jamestown Lesson Plan for Elementary School

32. Jamestown Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Where is Jamestown and why is it so important in the history of America? This lesson plan builds upon a text lesson to illustrate key facts about Jamestown. An activity connects students with the struggles of the English settlers in Jamestown.

New France Lesson Plan

33. New France Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about New France. They will explore how the experiences of this colony differed from those of other European colonies, and they will utilize creative writing to go further in depth.

New France: Definition, Location & Flag

34. New France: Definition, Location & Flag

The colonial era saw the founding of creatively named colonies like New England, New Spain, New Netherlands, and of course, New France. In this lesson, we'll find out where New France was located and why it was founded.

Florida Cracker Lesson Plan

35. Florida Cracker Lesson Plan

What was a Florida Cracker? This lesson plan will help you introduce your students to these colorful cowboys with a text lesson. A activity reinterprets early representations of the Cracker Cowboys in a creative way.

Florida Cracker: Definition & History

36. Florida Cracker: Definition & History

Welcome to the world of the Florida Cracker, a little-known part of American history. In this lesson, you'll learn about the earliest days of cattle ranches in the United States and the Florida cowboys who predated the legends of the Wild West.

Life in Early America Lesson Plan

37. Life in Early America Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about how the early Americans lived. Students will watch a video and answer questions that will enable them to compare lifestyles of the people in different colonies.

Colonial Government Lesson Plan

38. Colonial Government Lesson Plan

Help students gain a clear understanding of what government was like in the colonies with this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson on the topic, examine concepts with an analytical activity, and take a quiz.

Colonialism Activities for High School World History

39. Colonialism Activities for High School World History

Teaching students about colonialism is such an important part of helping them understand the complexities of the history of international relations. This lesson offers activities that will keep your students engaged in the topic.

Mayflower Compact Lesson Plan

40. Mayflower Compact Lesson Plan

Introduce students to the Mayflower Compact and the more abstract terms of social contract and compact, and get the students involved in creating their own.

Should We Celebrate Columbus Day? Lesson Plan

41. Should We Celebrate Columbus Day? Lesson Plan

This lesson will help your students learn about Christopher Columbus' voyages and the impact Spanish colonization had on the indigenous people in America. Students will watch a video lesson and engage in a debate about the Columbus Day holiday.

Jamestown Fort Project Ideas

42. Jamestown Fort Project Ideas

Are your students curious about the events that took place in and around the Jamestown Fort during the early 17th century? These projects will examine the harsh conditions the new colonists faced and the daily life at Jamestown Fort.

Christopher Columbus Project Ideas

43. Christopher Columbus Project Ideas

The projects offered in this asset will allow your students to consolidate their knowledge of Christopher Columbus in practical ways. Hands-on and writing projects are offered for all age groups.

Oregon Trail Project Ideas

44. Oregon Trail Project Ideas

It's not hard to get students interested in the Oregon Trail, but what do you do with that interest? These project ideas will give students fun and unique ways to apply their knowledge and interact with the material.

Lewis and Clark Project Ideas

45. Lewis and Clark Project Ideas

Of all the explorers in the American frontier, Lewis and Clark are the most famous. In this asset, you will find a collection of project ideas for your middle and high school students to complete both individually and in groups.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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