Journey Back in Time 
Colonial Days 

A WebQuest for 4th Grade 
VS 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8

Designed by Melissa Warren

What would it be like to have been born at a different time? Or as another person? Our class is going to travel back to Colonial Days. You will each choose to become either a man, a woman, or a child from colonial times. You will bring your character to life as you pretend to live as a colonial.

The Task
Each of you will become a character from Colonial Times. Everything you do on this project will be from the viewpoint of the character you have chosen. This will include your writing, research, and performance.  The chart below lists your character choices.  Would you like to experience life as a slave, as a student, as one of our country's founding fathers, or perhaps as Betsy Ross?   You will write about your life as that character. You will also include an authentic document that was written during the time period in which you lived.  The final step in your project will be to create a brochure documenting your life.  We will use PrintMaster or MS Publisher to accomplish this task. 

The Process
 Pick a character from the table below.  Use the Internet resources listed below to gather information about this character. Look at the information that is needed for your brochure. Once the information is gathered you will publish it.  Download and print the worksheet to help you organize your information and plan your project.

apprentice   baker   basket maker  
Betsy Ross blacksmith   brick maker  
cabinetmaker  carpenter   child / student
colonial woman / mother   cooper Founding Father  
gunsmith manor lady   manor owner  
merchant   miller printer  
shoemaker   silversmith   slave  
tanner   wheelwright   wigmaker  

We will be creating a Tri-Fold Brochure, similar to a travel brochure.

The Cover
 Your cover will have a picture of you as the colonial person.  We will accomplish this by using the scanner, digital camera, a few props, the internet, and a graphics program.  You will include your name (character's name) and what you do in your colonial life.

Page 1
Gather information about your character from the list of resources below. On the first page, introduce your character and give some of your family history and background. You are going to want to bring your character to life, so you will want to include the following information: 

  • your name (make sure your character has an authentic colonial name)
  • your family background
  • your occupation
  • your age
  • your educational background
  • your religion
Pages 2-3 
You will write 3 journal entries. These journal entries should tell about your trade and describe shelter, furnishings, costume, education, food, chores, and/or recreation common to your colonial character. Describe your family life as a colonial.  The journal entries can be consecutive daily entries or they can be selected from several weeks or months. Try to express the thoughts and feelings of your character as he/she goes about daily life in the colony. Some ideas to include are:
  • daily schedule/routines
  • work details
  • free time activities 
  • a sample of an authentic document written during and/or about the colonial period.

Page 4
You are to write up a recipe (that you enjoyed as a 'colonial person') or write up a description of a game that was popular during that period. We will have a Colonial Day where you can prepare the recipe for the class to sample. We will also play the games.  If you choose to write about a game then the materials need to be brought in for Colonial Day and you will instruct the class how to play it.


African Americans
Aunt Abigail's Cookbook
Colonial Children
The History of the 13 Original Colonies
Archiving Early America: Early American History Documents
Black Life in Colonial America
Everyday Life in Colonial America
Great Colonial Game Book
People of Williamsburg
Politics in Colonial Virginia
Religion in Early Virginia
Trades of Colonial Times

Now that you have completed your work on colonial times, lets take a look back and see how your efforts have helped you to understand the historic time period you studied. We will have a Colonial Day and the students will dress up as their character and present their brochure to the class. Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with the other trades after the entire presentation.

Do you have a better understanding of life as a colonial person?  Do you think you would have liked to live during this time period? Why or why not?  How did life differ from what you have now? What would you have liked best about life then, and what would you have missed most about life now?

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Disclaimer: The links here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents of links on the World Wide Web change continuously. It is advisable that teachers review all links before introducing Web Quests to students.


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