Living in Colonial Days

General Information:
Name: Ashley Williams, Niki Taylor, & Tina Goble
Grade Level4th and 5th
Subject Area(s)Social Studies, History, and Language Arts
Duration of Lesson: 45 minutes

Primary Learning Outcome(s) (PLO)

A. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the thriteen colonies.
    Essential question(s):
    What were the original thirteen colonies?

B. Students will discuss the information that is read from the book.
    Essential question(s):
    What was daily life like in Colonial times?
    Were all children expected to participate in daily life equally?

Related QCC Standard(s)

Grade: 4
Social Studies

: Exploration to Colonization
Standard: Compares and contrasts early colonial settlements in the New England, Middle Atlantic and Southern Colonies
- climate
- physical features
- settlers' country of origin
- settlers' motivations
- forms of government, and
- use of natural resources.

A Nation Is Born
Standard: Compares and contrasts different lifestyles in the colonies during the 18th century from the perspectives of large landowners, farmers, artisans, women, indentured servants and slaves.

Exploration to Colonization
Standard: Classifies the original thirteen colonies by regions (New England, Middle Atlantic, and Southern).

Materials and Equipment

Brenner, Barbara. If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days. Scholastic Inc. 2000.
map of the United States
handouts of thirteen colonies
Adapted and modified lessons from GLC:
A Day in Life of a Colonial Child
The First American Colonies


Step One: Introduction

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you lived during the colonial days? Do you think life would be easier or harder? Well today we are going to learn about the earliest colonies and what the children's daily routines consisted of. We are going to begin by looking at a map of the United States and look at where the thirteen colonies originated. Then you will listen to a book that tells what it was like to grow up in the colonial days. Finally, you will compare and contrast what life was like during the colonial times and what life is like today.

Essential questions:
What would your house look like?
What games and sports would you play?
Would you go to school?
What happened when you were sick or hurt?

Step two: teaching the primary Learning Outcome(s)

1. Develop content relevant to the outcome.

(1) “Today we are going to talk about life during the 1700’s in the United States.”

(2) “During this time America consisted of colonies instead of states.”


“Does anyone know why they were called colonies?” (colony~ A body of people who settle in a new country where they live and grow, but remain subject to the parent state)

(Discuss where the people originally came from (England) and how they arrived.)

“Does anyone know the original colonies?” (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia)

(3) The teacher will introduce the early colonial settlements by showing a map of the United States and pointing out the 13 colonies.

(4) The teacher will distribute the Label The Colonies handout to each student.

(5) The teacher will copy the map onto an overhead and fill in the information as the students follow along on their own map.

(6) After the map is labeled the teacher will begin a discussion on how life might have been during the colonial days.


Can anyone tell me what they think life was like in Williamsburg during the 1700’s?

What do you think kids did during colonial times?

(7) The teacher will then tell the students that they are going to listen to a book about life in Williamsburg, Virginia during colonial times.

(8) “Today we are going to read a story about life in Williamsburg, Virginia during the colonial days.” “Listen carefully while I read and pay attention to what kinds of things people did during these times that are different from the way we live today.” “I may ask you some questions about what I read.”

(9) The students can jot down any notes that they can use for an activity that they will do later.

2. Check for Understanding before going on.

(1) “Of the 13 colonies, which one was the most the most prominent?” (Virginia)

(2) What town was the most prosperous?” (Williamsburg)

(3) Where is Williamsburg located? (The students will tell where the area is located on the map.)

(4) The teacher will review details about colonial life that was read from the book.

(5) The teacher will prompt questions and have the students write the answers down.


What did the setting look like?

How would they dress?

How long did they go to school?

How many people lived in Williamsburg?

Where did they sleep?

3. Provide practice and feedback related to the primary learning outcome(s).

(1) Allow students to review the map on the Label the Colonies handout.

(2) The teacher will distribute the 13 Colonies Map/Quiz Handout.

(3) The students will complete the quiz independently and then review the questions orally with the class.


Were there any questions that you had trouble with?

What about question 10, did anyone know the answer? (1776)

(4) The teacher will then distribute the Daily Life in… handout.

(5) The students will have guided practice and compare and contrast typical activities of a modern and colonial child who are of the same age.

(6) The teacher may help students who cannot remember what a colonial child did.

Estimated time: 35 minutes

Step Three: Closure

(1) We talked about the 13 colonies and where they are located.

(2) The students labeled the 13 colonies on a map.

(3) We discussed the colonial days and how people lived during that time.

(4) The students answered questions using the 13 colonies map and …If you lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days book

(5) The students compared and contrasted the daily life of a modern and colonial child.

(6) Now the students will know how much more work was involved for a child growing up in the colonial days.


Would you like to live during the 1700’s?

How long do you think you would last working like those children did?

Estimated time: 10 minutes

Assessing the Primary Learning Outcome(s)

A. The students will display their knowledge of the thirteen colonies. The teacher will listen to oral responses and look at their map handouts. The assessment will occur during Step 2 (1) #2,#5 and Step 2 (2) #3 and Step 2 (3) #3.

B. The students will use the information they are given about colonial days to further understand life during that time. The teacher will listen to oral responses and look at their compare and contrast handout. The assessment will occur during Step 2 (2) #1,#2,#5 and Step 2 (3) #4,#5.


The story can be portrayed dramatically, with or without costume. Have students choose one of the first thirteen colonies and allow them to use resources in the media center or on the Internet and write a report about one of these colonies.


Students can partner with other having more advanced skill. Ask students to write a summary of the information that they learned in the book.


For students with exceptional needs changes can be made in instruction and teaching delivery to enhance student participation and learning.

Pre/Post Questions:
1. How many colonies made up colonial America before the United States was formed?
A.  Colonial America consisted of 75 colonies.
B.  Colonial America consisted of 13 colonies.
C.  Colonial America consisted of 14 colonies.
D.  Colonial America consisted of 20 colonies.

2. Compare and contrast how a room in a colonialhome differs from a room in a modern home.

Rubric to Assess Open-Ended Question:
Described 3 or more details
10 points
Described 2 details
6 points
Described 1 detail
2 points