I’m in the early stages of the first unit in AP US History, which focuses on Colonial History and the interactions between Native Americans and Europeans. I have found many helpful resources for teaching the Colonial Era over the years. These are my favorites (in no particular order):
This activity serves as a great introduction to the Columbian Exchange. Students are presented with a menu from the Medieval Times and asked to figure out which items should not be on the menu (i.e. determine which items would not have been available to Europeans prior to the Columbian Exchange)
David Ghere was a master crafstman of historical simulations, he published a large number of his simulations in the OAH Magazine of History and on his website. In this simulation, students short-term and long-term benefits and benefits and difficulties that resulted from the alliances between Native Americans and Europeans.
Charles Mann mentions in the book 1491, that John White was very impressed with the nutrition and organization of the Native American tribes that he encountered along the North Carolina coast in the 1580s. Students can investigate these paintings with a guided inquiry question, “Based on these paintings, what did John White think of the Native Americans he encountered?”
I’ve yet to meet a student who doesn’t enjoy games. The Jamestown Online Adventure allows students to learn about the major agricultural, diplomatic and security decisions that the first Jamestown settlers had to make. This decision-based game can easily be projected on a SMARTBoard and played as a class or students could play the game in a computer lab.
The H.S.I.’s designed by the College of William and Mary provide a useful framework for students to approach history as a detective. This investigation provides carefully selected and edited sources that guide students through the hardships that early settlers faced at Jamestown.
This website provides great infographics that get their point across in a very short amount of time. These images help students understand the geographical context of colonial history.
That covers most of my favorites. Please share yours in the comments.