Teacher's Guide for DIG TM Jamestown Rediscovered

October 2005

Teacher Guide prepared by: Alyssa Loorya.

"Discovering Jamestown" (pp.6-9)

Reading Comprehension:

As a class read this article as an introduction to Jamestown and the Jamestown Project. After reading the article have students answer some or all of the following questions.

  1. What was the first capital of Virginia? Jamestown
  2. When was Jamestown founded? 1607
  3. Who are the archaeologists at Jamestown? William Kelso, Beverly Straube and Nicolas Luccketti
  4. What forms of evidence did William Kelso use to help uncover Jamestown? Historical documents, written eyewitness accounts and maps
  5. What was William Kelso's first important clue to the location of Jamestown? He discovered that the church was at the fort's center and the church tower was still standing.
  6. What did William Kelso find when he first began to excavate? Pottery and clay pipes
  7. How did the archaeologists recognize the fort wall? They found a line of stains from the wooden posts of the fort.
  8. What was the original shape of the fort? A triangle


Based on the article, what can you say about the Jamestown Fort? Describe it in a short paragraph.

Science Extension:

Explore how and why wood decays. What happens to wood as it does decay?

Research Extension:

Explore colonial forts in America. Have students research individual colonial forts; research and visit a local fort; or explore the how and why of colonial forts.

"A First in America" (pp. 10-11)

Reading Comprehension:

Have students quietly read this article in class (or for homework) and fill in the blanks of the following sentences.

  1. The colonists arrived in Jamestown _____________. May 13, 1607
  2. The first colonists to arrive at Jamestown were _________________. 100 Englishmen and boys
  3. Jamestown was named for______________. King James I
  4. The colonists were sent to Jamestown by _____________. The Virginia Company
  5. They were sent to search for _____________________. Gold, natural resources and a water route to the Orient
  6. The first leader of Jamestown was ____________. Captain John Smith

"Lazy Settlers" (pp. 12-14)

Read the article as a class.


Many past historians referred to the Jamestown colonists as lazy because the Jamestown colony did not immediately succeed. Do you think the settlers were lazy? Why or Why not?

As part of the discussion outline some of the problems faced by the settlers. List these problems on the board.

Activity 1:

Have students write a letter home in the voice of one of the settlers.

Activity 2:

Enlarge and/or project the image of the engraving on page 15. Have students contemplate the image and write a short story based on this image.

Research Extension:

Have students research and write a short paper about the starving time. As part of the paper students should discuss what the settlers had to do in order to survive.

"Who Shot JR" (pp.16-18)

Have students read this article.


What do we know about JR and his death? Create a fact sheet based on the information on the article.


Using the fact sheet and what they have learned so far about Jamestown; have students write a biography for JR. Have students compare their biographies.

Take a class poll:

Do you think we have learned a lot about this one individual based on archaeology and science?

"Life at the Fort" and "Jamestown Kids"

Assign both articles to students to read.


Have students write down four observations from the articles that describe life at Jamestown. Students share their observations with the class. Create a "life in Jamestown was . . . " list on the board.


Would you want to live at Jamestown? Why or Why not?


Have students compare their life as a child to the life of a child in Jamestown. As part of their essay they should create a graphic representation or chart that highlights similarities and differences.


Bring in historic artifacts for students to experience or visit a local historic house museum that will have historic artifacts on hand.

Cultural Extension:

Research Indian football. What game does it seem similar to? (soccer) Have the class play a game of Indian football (if necessary create additional rooms). Further research various Native American games or crafts. Bring some of these into the classroom creating a Native American cultural fair.


Have students complete the "Dig This" exercise on the back cover.

Unit Discussion:

How has archaeology helped our understanding of Jamestown? Discuss specific examples.

Extension Activities:

  1. What can we learn from artifacts? Conduct an experiment in which students must analyze modern day artifacts.

    Bring in several unusual objects to pass around to the class. Have students analyze each of the objects and try to determine what the object is and what it is used for.

    - OR -

    Have each student bring two to three personal objects (that do not have their name or any other identifying information attached) to class in an unmarked brown paper bag. For uniformity, the teacher may wish to provide each student with a brown paper sandwich bag. Collect all the bags and redistribute them randomly.

    Have each student analyze the contents of the bag they receive. What can they say about the objects in the bag? Can they guess if the objects belong to a girl or a boy? Can they guess which classmate they belong to?
  2. Research the story of Pocahantas. Who was she and what was her contribution to history?
  3. Who were the Powhatans? Are there any Powhatans remaining today?
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