Fifth Grade Colonial Day
This year, Aaron School fifth graders embarked on a month long unit studying colonial times in America! Within their study, students first learned about the origin of various settlements within the Northeast, including Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. Students became familiar with historical constructs such as The House of Burgesses and The Virginia Company, as well as figures such as John Smith and John Rolfe. A general theme within their study was the daily life of colonists, discovering the type of clothing worn, types of food consumed, homes and dwellings built, as well as specific roles assigned to both men and women. A particular emphasis was placed on colonial occupations, where students conducted a 4-week long research project on a colonial occupation of their choice! Within this project, students researched the role of blacksmiths, schoolmasters, silversmiths, wheelwrights, dressmakers, wigmakers, innkeepers, shipbuilders, or glassblowers! At the end of the unit, students had the opportunity to immerse themselves into the lives of colonists on Colonial Day!
Colonial Day took place on Wednesday, February 15th for the entire fifth grade student body! In order to bring the students’ research projects to life and truly submerge themselves in colonial culture, a full day was planned with colonial-themed crafts and activities. Students were asked to dress up and bring in tools to correlate with their chosen occupation.
When students arrived at their classrooms on the morning of the 15th, they were surprised to find themselves enter into “Plymouth Rock,” “Virginia,” or “Jamestown.” The lights were switched off, as a representation of no electricity in colonial times. Students were surprised to discover that their teachers were no longer teachers, but pilgrims who had just arrived off the Mayflower!
Classes were arranged into different groups; Plymouth Rock, The Virginia Company, and The Jamestown Colony. Students were informed that they were no longer children who attended Aaron School, but instead they were blacksmiths, schoolmasters, silversmiths, wheelwrights, dressmakers, wigmakers, innkeepers, shipbuilders, or glassblowers! Each student transformed into the role they had studied for the research project, and embarked on the task of interviewing fellow colonists. During this time, the colonists learned information about all of the various occupations. Students had such a great time and even adopted British accents!
Following the interviews, students began rotations of making butter, making cornbread, and playing Mancala. Classrooms transformed into “The Butter Factory,” “The Colonial Bakery,” and “Town Hall.” Next, students took off on a voyage to Plymouth Rock, Virginia, or Jamestown. Once they reached their final destination, the colonists made “God’s Eye” crafts and wax candles. The fifth graders worked so hard and had such a great time immersing themselves into the daily life of colonists, making it a truly invaluable experience!