Social Studies Update: Causes of the Revolution

Many exciting things have been happening in social studies class the past couple of weeks.  We had our Skype virtual field trip with the Boston Tea Party Museum in Boston, MA, a formal tea party using real china teacups, and began a CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) for the Boston Massacre.  During this exciting time, we are learning about the events that will lead to the American Revolution.  It all starts after the French and Indian War.  The colonists are taxed to help England get out of debt from the war, but the colonists do not have representation in England’s Parliament to have a say on laws being passed.  Several tax laws are passed including the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Tea Act.  The students participated in a simulation in which they were given M & M’s, but had to pay taxes for items they possessed like pencils.  Many kids experienced frustration over losing most of their M & M’s.  In the end the students got back their M & M’s – unlike the colonists who did not get tax money back!  We learned about ways the colonists protested tax laws – with boycotting British goods being one of the most effective.  A pattern of a law being passed, colonists protesting, law being repealed, then a new law being passed continued in the years leading up to the Revolution.  The colonists’ protests sometimes turned violent.  To keep peace, England sends more soldiers.  Tensions run high in Boston and lead to an event called the Boston Massacre.  British soldiers fire upon an angry mob of colonists ending in five colonists’ deaths.  Right now, students are investigating evidence and first hand accounts of what happened to determine if the British soldiers fired in self defense or if it was murder.  We will be having a mock trial this week and students will be taking a side and writing a persuasive essay to support their stance.  Be sure to ask your child about what is happening in class.  There are many questions on the Homework page.

French and Indian War

Here are French and Indian War questions from last week’s Homework page to keep reviewing.

Who were the sides fighting in the French and Indian War?
What territory were these groups fighting over?
Why was the territory considered so valuable?
How did the French and Indian War begin?
How did the British fighting style differ from the Native Americans?
How did the British finally win the French and Indian War?
How was this war a beginning step in the American Revolution to come later?


Southern Colony Review Questions

Here are Southern Colony review questions saved from the homework page.  Keep reviewing questions for all three regions.  We will have an open-note assessment at the end of this week, Friday, February 16th.

  • Name the 5 Southern Colonies
  • What were the natural resources used to make income in the Southern Colonies?
  • Describe a plantation.
  • What is a cash crop?
  • What were common cash crops in the south?
  • Why was slavery so much more a part of the south than other colonial regions?
  • Describe the “Middle Passage”.
  • Describe possible conditions of being a slave.  What was applicable to all slaves?
  • How did slaves fight back against slavery?
  • Describe the social class structure in the Southern Colonies.
  • Describe some aspects of daily life for each social class:  gentry class, middle class, slave class.

Middle Colony Review Questions

I’m saving the Middle Colony review questions here so you can keep reviewing.  I still have a couple of kids who haven’t taken the quiz yet as well.  We are wrapping up learning about the Southern Colonies this week.  We will be doing a writing activity for which the students can read their notes.  We will be starting a project towards the end of the week and I will give a 13 Colonies Test next week to wrap up the unit.  You will find Southern Colony review questions on the Homework Page.

  • Name the 4 Middle Colonies.
  • Who founded the colony of New Netherland?
  • Who governed New Netherland?
  • How did New Netherland become New York and New Jersey?
  • Who was William Penn and why was he important?
  • How was Pennsylvania founded?
  • What is a Quaker?  Describe their beliefs.
  • Why were Quakers persecuted in England and by the Puritans?
  • Why are the Middle Colonies more culturally and ethnically diverse than the New England Colonies?
  • Describe ways the Middle Colonies used their natural resources for their economic needs.
  • How were the Middle Colonies the same and different from the New England Colonies?


New England Colonies Review Questions

As we are learning about the 13 Colonies, I am giving mini quizzes each week, but I will have a comprehensive test and project on all the colonies to culminate.  I didn’t want these review questions to be lost.  It would be helpful to keep the knowledge fresh.

  • Name the 4 New England Colonies.
  • What natural resources did the New England Colonies most depend on?
  • What group settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony?
  • How was this group the same and different from the Pilgrims of Plymouth?
  • Who was the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony?
  • To what did the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony compare their colony?  Explain what he meant?
  • What did the Puritans value most?  How did this influence their daily lives?
  • How did Puritans ensure all children were educated?  Why was being able to read important to the Puritans?
  • What was daily life like for most Puritans in the New England Colonies?
  • Who was Roger Williams and why is he important?
  • Explain the terms “Liberty of Conscience” and “Separation of Church and State”.
  • Who started the colony of Connecticut and why?
  • What is an example of self-government in the New England Colonies?
  • Describe King Phillips’ War.  Who was involved?  What was the cause?  What was the outcome?
  • The Puritans wanted freedom of religion for themselves, but did not tolerate other religions or ideas.  Give examples that show this lack of toleration.

Social Studies Video Links

Here are some video links for things we have watched in class that students have asked me to post.



We only watched the first two videos for this link.  Students might enjoy watching the Wampanoag Village and First Thanksgiving videos.

NWEA Testing Begins January 8th!

Please note that Reading and Math NWEA testing for the middle of year begins Monday, January 8th.  We will begin testing Reading on Monday and Tuesday.  Math will be tested on Wednesday and Thursday, with all makeup testing on Friday.  Please do your best to avoid making appointments during the school day next week.  It is very difficult to makeup testing and students usually don’t do as well in makeup situations.  A good night’s rest and a healthy, protein-filled breakfast goes a long way!  

Social Studies Update

We wrapped up learning about the early English colonies of Roanoke and Jamestown.  The children were really fascinated and engaged by these early colonies.  We learned that Roanoke did not succeed.  The colonists were not well prepared to make it in the wilderness, had conflicts with Native Americans, and had to have their leader return to England get more supplies.  Since England and Spain were at war, John White, the governor, was not allowed to return to Roanoke for three years.  Once he returned, the colonists had disappeared without much trace.  The students enjoyed investigating different theories of what may have happened to the colonists.  They teamed up and analyzed possible evidence pointing to what may have happened.  They picked the theory that made the most sense to them and had to provide support for the theory they chose.  The colony of Jamestown did succeed, but after a very difficult beginning.  The children learned about the horrors of a period called the “Starving Time” and I hope they don’t have nightmares! They also really enjoyed doing an online simulation where they got to make decisions as a leader of the colony – where to settle, what kind of structure to build for shelter, how to deal with Native Americans, and so on.  They got to see whether they would have survived or not based on the decisions they made; and either be promoted to governor or fired!  We had a quiz on the Jamestown and Roanoke on Friday that I’m working on grading right now.  So far, grades have been very good; so I think they really enjoyed this unit and learned a lot.  Quizzes will come home Thursday along with some other items and grades will be updated again.

IRT Field Trip – December 20th!

It’s hard to believe that it is time for our field trip to IRT.  As you know, we will be seeing A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens on Wednesday, December 20th.  Since we will not arrive back to school in time for our regularly scheduled lunch, we will eat lunch in our classrooms.   Your child will need to bring in a sack lunch, unless you stated on the permission slip that your child is to get a sack lunch from the school cafeteria.   This has been ordered if that was indicated on the permission slip.

If you are one of our parent chaperones, please arrive no later than 9:00 as we will begin boarding buses around 9:15 or as soon as they start arriving.  We will be back around 1:00.  Feel free to eat lunch with your child or leave when we return.

Due to the unusually long morning, please make sure your child eats a good breakfast.   Each child may bring in an individually-wrapped healthy snack (energy bar, fruit roll-up, etc.) to eat right before we get on the bus.

Thank you.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact your child’s homeroom teacher.

Mid-Year Reminders

Thank you for your support in these matters:

  • It’s that time of year when school supplies need replenished!  These are great stocking stuffers!
  • Students should be bathing regularly, wearing deodorant, brushing their teeth daily, and wearing clean clothes.  Also, students MUST have a coat for outdoor midday.  Students without coats will not go outside.
  • Around this time of the school year, student behavior, study habits, and task completion starts declining.  Trimester 2 grades are reflecting this.  Please continue to check the BLOG, Powerschool, and assignment notebooks regularly.  Students should be bringing their assignment notebooks home NIGHTLY.