Lesson 1: The Virginia Company of London and the Royal Charter
Time Estimated: 1-3 days
- Understand four of the five reasons for establishing the Virginia Company of London
- Understand why England wanted a colony in the New World
For the whole class:
- A copy of the Virginia Charter from the Thomas Jefferson Papers for display
- Access to the computers with Publisher program
Enough copies for individual students:
- A Lion to Guard Us and Pocahontas and the Strangers for literature circle reading (integrated into Language Arts curriculum)
- Copies of these excerpts from the Virginia Charter of 1606, with original language and transcribed into modern language and spelling from http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1601-1650/virginia/chart01.htm
- Hook: Show students the transcript copy of the Charter. Explain that this is a copy of the Charter that gave the Virginia Company of London the right to establish a colony in the New World.
- Students then divide into four to five groups. Each group gets an excerpt of the 1606 Virginia Charter.
- Put these five phrases on the board: Raw Materials, Gold, France & Spain, Market, and Citizenship.
- Explain that each group will be given a copy of one of the five quotes. As we read and decipher what the author was saying, they will need to identify which of the five topics he is referring to. The students will then share their quote with the class, and explain which of the five topics they felt it corresponded with.
- After each group has presented, explain that these were five of the most important pieces of the Virginia Charter. Explain that four were reasons for colonizing (gold, raw materials, Spain and France, and to have a market in the New World), and that the last guarantees colonists the rights of British citizens.
- As a whole class, brainstorm the kinds of people that would be helpful when colonizing a location. Workers, leaders, farmers, carpenters, etc, would all be needed.
- The students need to create a draft of a Help Wanted Poster. The poster should include three things:
- An "advertisement" that explains why they need colonists for Virginia (see the reasons for colonization)
- An example of the kind of colonist that they want
- The guarantee of British citizenship.
Students have the option to create posters as elaborate or as simple as they choose. Differentiation also occurs during Language Arts in the literature circles. The lower reading level should read Pocahontas... while the higher group reads A Lion... Higher level students could also be given the task of researching the defeat of the Spanish Armada by England, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, or other European colonies in the New World. This lesson also incorporates different learning styles: interpersonal, artistic, logical, visual, and auditory.