The Southern Colonies of the United States

Learn about the geography and economy of the Southern colonies/states.

Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to name the states of the Southern region.
  2. Students will be able to describe the geography and climate of the Southern region.
  3. Students will be able to define the term cash crop and identify cash crops that were important to the economy in the South.
  4. Students will be able to describe how each of the Southern states was originally established as a colony.

Suggested Grades:

4th Grade – 5th Grade – 6th Grade

Procedure:

  1. Read lesson or have students read it silently.
  2. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet.
  3. Discuss answers to questions.

Lesson Excerpt:

The southern region of the United States contains five of the original thirteen colonies – Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. This region is known as the tidewater region because of the many waterways along its low-lying coast. The climate and soil in the south is suitable for raising crops like cotton, peaches and peanuts. In colonial times, rice, tobacco and indigo (a plant used to produce blue dye) were also important cash crops – crops that can easily be sold. The growing season in the south lasts from seven to eight months, so farming was an important part of life there.

The tidewater forests also offered many opportunities for hunters. The forests were filled with ducks, dear, bears, buffalo and turkeys. There were also many fish to be caught in the rivers of the tidewater region.

Virginia was the first colony in the southern region. Then, in 1632, George Calvert asked the king for an area of land for Catholics. The area became known as the colony of Maryland. By 1640, however, most of the colonists in Maryland were not Catholic. The Carolinas were the next colonies established. First known as one colony called Carolina, this area was a gift from King Charles II to eight of his friends. They named the region Carolina after him (Charles is Carolus in Latin). King George II took over Carolina in 1729 and divided it into two colonies. North Carolina attracted many tobacco farmers from Virginia, while the swampy soil in South Carolina was more suitable for growing rice and indigo.

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New France: The French in America

Learn about the role of France in the history of North America.

Objectives:

  1. Students will understand why French explorers came to North America.
  2. Students will be able to describe the history of French colonies in Canada.
  3. Students will be able to identify French explorers and describe their expeditions in North America.
  4. Students will be able to identify New Orleans as an American city founded by the French.

Suggested Grades:

4th Grade – 5th Grade – 6th Grade

Procedure:

  1. Read lesson or have students read it silently.
  2. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet.
  3. Discuss answers to questions.

Lesson Excerpt:

Like England and Spain, the country of France also played a role in the history of America. In the early 1500’s, French explorers came to North America looking for gold and jewels. Like other European explorers, the French soon realized that they would not find gold and jewels in the new land. They did, however, find other riches like furs and fish.

In the spring, French fishermen would set out for America. They traded with Native Americans in Canada for beaver furs and brought both fish and furs back to France each fall. In France, hats made of beaver fur became so popular that hat makers could not keep them in stock. Fur traders were quickly able to make a fortune.

As the fur trade grew, the French set up a colony in Canada called New France. The colony was started by the French explorer and geographer Samuel de Champlain. He built a trading post and called it Quebec. Champlain had a good relationship with the Huron Indians in the area. The success of the French fur trade depended greatly on this strong relationship with Native Americans.

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The Middle Atlantic Regions of the United States

Learn about the geography and economy of the Middle Atlantic colonies/states.

Objectives:


  1. Students will be able to name the states of the Middle Atlantic region.
  2. Students will be able to describe the geography of the Middle Atlantic region.
  3. Students will be able to describe the economy in the Middle Atlantic region.
  4. Students will be able to describe the development of a megalopolis in the Middle Atlantic region.

Suggested Grades:

4th Grade – 5th Grade – 6th Grade

Procedure:

  1. Read lesson or have students read it silently.
  2. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet.
  3. Discuss answers to questions.

Lesson Excerpt:

The Middle Atlantic region of the U.S. includes the states of New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. The geography of the region is flat or gently rolling hills in Delaware and New Jersey, while Pennsylvania and New York contain stretches of the Appalachian Mountain range.

The hills between the Atlantic coast and the Appalachian Mountains are known as the Piedmont. Many rivers flow through the Piedmont on their way to the ocean. Because the rivers flow down from the hills to the coast, there are many rapids and waterfalls in between. The dividing line between the Piedmont and the Atlantic coast is known as the fall line. The geography of the Middle Atlantic States played an important role in the history of this part of the country.

When the Middle Atlantic States first became colonies, people used the rivers as highways to transport food, lumber and furs to places where the goods could be traded or sold. However, river boats could not get past the fall line. The falling water did have some benefits to the colonists, though. They were able to use its power to build water-powered mills to cut lumber and grind flour. Mills were built along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers and cities were soon established in these places as well.

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The Workers Movement in America

Learn about the workers’ movement that arose in the United States during the Industrial Revolution.

 

Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to describe the adverse working conditions in factories during the Industrial Revolution.
  2. Students will be able to explain why labor unions were created.
  3. Students will understand what the AFL is and why it was created.
  4. Students will be able to explain what a strike is.
  5. Students will be able to identify the labor organizers Samuel Gompers and Mother Jones.
  6. Students will be able to describe some of Mother Jones’ activities.

 

Suggested Grades:

4th Grade – 5th Grade – 6th Grade

 

Procedure:

  1. Read lesson or have students read it silently.
  2. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet.
  3. Discuss answers to questions.

 

Lesson Excerpt:

As the Industrial Revolution progressed in the late 1800s, more and more Americans went to work in factories. People who worked in factories soon found that it was different from working on a small farm or in a small workshop. In factories, people had to work fast to keep up with machines, sometimes for 16 hours a day. Working conditions in factories were often uncomfortable and dangerous and wages were too low for workers to support their families alone. This meant that both parents had to work.

Children often had to leave school and go to work as well. A boy might work in a coal mine picking rocks out of coal and be paid only 50 cents a week. Many boys suffered crushed or broken fingers working in coal mines. Boys and girls as young as 6 years old also worked in textile mills. Like other factory workers, they worked long hours for little pay.

By the late 1800s, factory workers began to fight for better working conditions. They created labor unions in which workers joined together to ensure that employers treat them well. If the employer did not agree with the union, the workers would go on strike – refuse to work – until an agreement could be reached. At first, each group of workers had its own union. For example, there was a union of carpenters, a union of plumbers and a union of textile workers. Then in 1886, the leaders of several unions joined together and created the American Federation of Labor, or AFL with a cigar-maker named Samuel Gompers as president.

 

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