Women in colonial times  
Colonial Kids
  Man and women in colonial times
Student Resources   Teacher Resources




Background Knowledge




Research Senario

Your class has been nominated to participate on a television program called “Living the Colonial Life”. In order to be the winning class, you must be knowledgeable of how children lived during this time period. You will be researching and gathering as much information as possible. From this information you will produce a journal, voki, or a podcast from the viewpoint of a Colonial American child. You must incorporate enough historical facts in your journals to effectively illustrate your knowledge of this time period.

Essential Question:
What was life really like for children in Colonial America?

First, you will need to build some background knowledge about this topic.

Paper and pencil

Task and Product

You will design and create a journal entry(s) that will be used by a local television broadcast to be incorporated in the new reality show, “Living the Colonial Life”.
You will work with a group to research a particular topic that focuses on the lives of colonial children. Then you will complete a journal entry(s) that should highlight the every-day life of children living in this time period.

  • Your journal entry(s) should contain historical information about your chosen topic.
  • Keep in mind that while you are gathering and creating your journal entry(s) that you are living in this time period.

This reality show is an example of historical fiction, meaning it is created based on facts of this time period.

Your teacher may decide to assign an alternate presentation from the following list:


The following scoring tools may be used or adapted by your teacher to evaluate your research process and your final product and presentation.

Research Process Assessments:

Group Collaboration Assessments:

Question mark

In order to write a realistic journal entry, you will need to conduct research to help you answer the Essential Question:

What was life really like for children in Colonial America?

"Life" is a very broad topic which includes many different aspects. You will need to identify subtopics by deciding what specific aspects of colonial American children's lives you want to investigate

You will work with a group focusing on one subtopic to create questions that will guide your research about your assigned aspect of colonial American children's lives.

Good researchers use background knowledge to develop and refine their initial research questions. You can use the Digital Reference Sources on the Student Resources page to build background knowledge that will help you to develop good questions about your group's subtopic.

  • Scan the article page to find a heading about your subtopic; then skim that section of the article for backround information to help you write good research questions.
    • Record your own questions on the Student Questions handout (page 1).
    • Work with your group to select the best questions to guide your research on this topic, and record these questions on the Group Questions handout (page 2).
Girl looking for something
Gather and Sort

Gather information about your research topic from a variety of sources.

  • Use the Colonial Kids: Digital Resources (also found on the Student Resource page) to skim and scan various digital resources to identify which resources are relevant to your subtopics and questions. 

Record and sort your research findings by using each of the three note-taking strategies: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.  Review the How to Take Good Notes handout if needed.  You can take notes using:

Be sure to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for a bibliography. Review the Bibliography Guide if needed.

Kids sitting at a computer researching

Analyze your research notes in order to write your first draft of your journal.

  • Remember when writing, imagine you are a boy or girl living in one of the American colonies. 
  • Review examples of journal entries written from the point of view of a child (Our America series, Dear American series, and My America series).

Synthesize your research findings by using one of the technology tools listed for your topic in the Task and Products step (or another tool from this resource wiki) to design a digital journal entry(s) that highlights the every-day life of children living in Colonial America time period.

Evaluate your finished product using the Journal Rubric.

Child giving a speech

Presentation: Read or show your published journal entry(s) to the class.

Reflection: As you listen to your classmates journals, comment on what you find most interesting, surprising, or similar to/different from their own lives.

Extension Activity:

  • Now that you have learned about the daily life of Colonial children, can you think of another group of people that continue to live this simple life in the 21st century?
  • It is the Amish community. Choose a Web site below in order to learn more about the daily life of the Amish children.
  • Compare the lives of Colonial children to that of the Amish children. Use a Venn diagram to make your comparisons.

Amish Web sites:

Venn Diagrams: