Third Grade Students Explore the Intersection of Three Cultures at Jamestown
Just a few weeks ago, students in Grade 3 visited the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg after completing a unit exploring what life was like in the early days of Jamestown and how the three people groups there interacted with one another.
They studied the intersection of the three cultures of its residents, English, Powhatan, and Angolan, through the study of primary sources like maps, promotional literature, journal entries, sketches, paintings, etc. Students learned the importance of primary sources and how historians use them to shape their understandings of the past.
In the first part of the unit, students learned about food, housing, clothing, tools, conflict, the geography of the Tidewater region, and how the environment impacted human life at Jamestown. Students then learned about the lifestyle, traditions, history, and beliefs of each of the three cultures. They explored the ways people from the three cultures interacted with and impacted one another.
Throughout the unit, teachers led students through important discussions about the cultures and conflicts. Teacher Caroline Wilke called these “careful, developmentally appropriate discussions focused on thinking through topics of identity, race, prejudice, and conflict through a compassionate, Gospel-grounded lens.”
The final part of the unit culminated in a trip to the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg. While there, students participated in several hands-on activities like making corn cakes, learning how to shoot a musket, and working together to create a rope out of grasses. This final phase of the unit also included an oral presentation by small groups in the class, in which they had to teach others about what happened to the English, Powhatan, and Angolan people who lived at Jamestown. They also had to write about a particular topic with those three people groups and how they intersected (like food, housing, clothing, tools, conflict, etc.), and they created simulations of primary sources and artifacts.
Located in Charlottesville, VA, The Covenant School is a non-denominational, private, Christian day school for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, visual and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.