When I was teaching upper elementary, I was always on the lookout for engaging and educational social studies activities. If you are stuck with an outdated textbook or lack materials, I totally understand how much time and energy can go into planning high-quality lessons that take the "boring" out of history. I've found that virtual field trips are a great option because they can transport students to different times and places and give students an opportunity to take ownership of their learning. If you're teaching Early American History, I think you'll find this Jamestown Virtual Field Trip a great versatile learning option.
Understanding Jamestown's Historical Significance:
Jamestown, Virginia, holds a crucial place in American history as the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. Established in 1607, this settlement was part of the Colony of Virginia. Virginia was the first of the original 13 colonies. While textbooks often focus on a single perspective, this Jamestown Virtual Field Trip is designed to give upper elementary students a holistic view by telling the whole story. This immersive experience sheds light on the perspective of the indigenous peoples who inhabited the land long before Jamestown was established while also shedding light on the trials and triumphs the colonists experienced.
Key Highlights of the Virtual Field Trip:
The Indigenous Perspective: One of the reasons this activity is different than others is the commitment to telling the whole story. It doesn't just focus on the colonists but also brings to light the perspective of the indigenous peoples who have lived in the region long before Jamestown was established. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the native peoples living in the region including Wahunsenacawh (Chief Powhatan) and Tsenacommacah. They will use Google Earth to explore a reconstructed Powhatan village.
The Colonist Experience: This virtual field trip provides an immersive experience, allowing students to virtually explore the early settlement. They can visit replicas of the Virginia Company ship, James Fort, and learn about daily life while gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced.
Interactive Learning: This virtual field trip includes all of the informational text, links to short video clips, and Google Earth 360-degree views in one place. All of the content is ready for you to save you time. Editable response questions are included throughout that focus on historical thinking skills. This interactive lesson is a great way to bring history to life while allowing students time to explore and take ownership of their learning.
Why This Virtual Field Trip Is Ideal for Upper Elementary Students:
Standards-Aligned: The Jamestown Virtual Field Trip is aligned to the Washington States Social Studies Standards, but it can easily crosswalk to other state social studies standards. It is also aligned with the Common Core Reading Informational Text standards.
Engaging and Interactive: The interactive nature of this virtual trip keeps students engaged and allows them to actively participate in their learning. Students have time to explore and make connections to history.
Holistic Perspective: By emphasizing the indigenous perspective, this activity promotes a more comprehensive understanding of history, fostering empathy and critical thinking.
Versatile Activity: This ready-to-go activity can be used whole group, as partner learning, for early finishers, or as sub plans. With everything set up for you, the prep work is basically done. Just assign in your LMS like Google Classroom for your students to complete on their own.
My hope is that this virtual field trip can be used to enrich your social studies lessons while also saving you precious prep time. By providing a complete narrative that includes the perspective of both settlers and indigenous peoples, it offers a well-rounded view of Jamestown's history. I hope your students will have a chance to embark on this exciting journey through time and history and that it will inspire your students to appreciate the complexities of the past while gaining valuable insights into the present.
You might also be interested in my other U.S. History focused virtual field trips which you can find HERE