NWHM Women Of Jamestown Lesson Plan

Content Area/Online Exhibit: Building the New World: the Women of Jamestown Settlement

Grade Level: Secondary Grades

Lesson Prepared By: Jessie Regunberg





In this lesson, students will be able to explore the essential role women played in Jamestown in the early 17th century.  They will create a dialogue between a modern-day woman and one who lived in Jamestown 300 years ago.



One class period and one homework assignment.




  • Students will actively think about the similarities and differences between life for women today and life for women living in 17th century Virginia.
  • Students will learn to ask the questions of a social historian.
  • Students will have the opportunity to work on their creative writing skills.



  • None






Introduce the subject to the class.  Depending on their background in the history of Jamestown, you may want to offer a quick overview of the settlement

  • Talking Point:
    In 1606, King James granted the Virginia Company of London a charter to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America.  After a long and dangerous sea voyage, the all-male group of settlers founded Jamestown in the Virginia colony – named for Queen Elizabeth I, who resisted all marriage proposals and therefore was called the “virgin queen.”  Young and adventurous, Virginia’s men hoped to quickly discover gold and return home.   Unfortunately, however, unlike the easy, exploitive profit that the Spanish made from gold in South America, the English settlers faced unwelcoming conditions that made their survival difficult.  When it became clear that the Virginia settlers would have to find a different way to survive and tobacco emerged as a profitable crop, the all-male population no longer fit the needs of the Company. To have a more permanent, long-term settlement in the New World, women had to be included.

  • Pass around the handout with the assignment directions and useful tips.

  • Give the students the rest of the period to read through the Online Exhibit.

  • You may wish for your students to read parts of their dialogues out loud to the rest of the class.  If so, make sure the students know that this is a possibility at the beginning of the assignment








I-d Culture: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can compare and analyze societal patterns for preserving and transmitting culture while adapting to environmental or social change.


II-b Time, Continuity and Change: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time, so that the learner can identify and use key concepts such as chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity.


IV-e Individual Development and Identity: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity, so that the learner can examine the interactions of ethnic, national, or cultural influences in specific situations or events


V-f Individuals, Groups and Institutions: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions, so that the learner can identify and analyze examples of tensions between expressions of individuality and group or institutional efforts to promote social conformity


IX-g Global Connections: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence, so that the learner can describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational organizations in the global arena.





5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.


7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, as well as posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.


12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).