Jamestown and Plymouth Comparison Lesson Plan
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Jamestown & Plymouth Compare and Contrast Lesson

Use this standards-aligned lesson plan to focus on the similarities and differences between the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies. Students will focus on the purpose, location, problems, and progress of each colony.

Introductory Activity

Start the lesson with vocabulary. Have your students complete a vocabulary matrix for several terms related to the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies. I like to focus on the following four words: colonist, pilgrim, drought, and epidemic. Students define each word, record a synonym, use the word in a sentence, and draw a picture to represent the word’s meaning. Definitions, synonyms, and a sentence for each word are listed below. 

colonist: a person who settles in a new place; settler; The colonists settled in North America. 

pilgrim: a person who travels for a religious reason; traveler; The Pilgrims left England in 1620.

drought: a long period of little to no rainfall, causing a shortage of water; dry spell; The long drought made it impossible to grow crops.

epidemic: a sudden outbreak of disease; disease; An epidemic killed many Indigenous Americans.

Guided Practice

Use informational text, video, or a combination of both to focus on the purpose, location, problems, and progress of the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies. Presenting the information in this way will help students identify the similarities and differences between the two colonies. Key points for each of the four criteria are listed below. Click here to download a side-by-side text comparison of the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.

If students can write on the text, have them color-code the similarities and differences between the two colonies. If you don’t have access to a text students can write on, have them record the information on their own paper. I like to have students use different color highlighters, but underlining or circling the text in different colors also works well. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THIS PRINTABLE & DIGITAL LESSON

Independent Practice

After identifying the similarities and differences in purpose, location, problems, and progress between the two colonies, students will be ready to create a venn diagram or double bubble map. Working independently, students complete the graphic organizer by identifying two similarities and two differences between Jamestown and Plymouth.

Assessment 

To assess understanding, have students write a compare and contrast paragraph on Jamestown and Plymouth. Like the graphic organizer completed above, students will need to identify two similarities and two differences between the two colonies. 

I use an outline and close paragraph (paragraph frame) to differentiate the assessment for all levels of learners. It’s helpful to have students highlight the outline with the same colors they used to compare and contrast the text. See the image below for an example of this.

Before students begin writing their paragraphs, we review paragraph structure and transition words. Common compare and contrast transition words and sentence frames are listed below.  

I also take a minute to review the grading rubric to make sure students are aware of the paragraph expectations. I use a standard 4 point grading rubric that assesses topic sentence, similarities and differences, examples, concluding sentence, transition words, and conventions.

Compare & Contrast Sentence Frames and Transition Words   

Commonly used transition words for making a comparison: likewise, similarly, along the same lines, in the same way

  • A similarity between ____________ and ____________ is ______________.
  • _______ and ___________ both show ________________. 
  • _______ and _____________ are alike in that they both ____________.
  • ___________ and ___________ are alike because  __________________.
  • Similarly, ___________ and __________ are __________________.
  • In the same way, _______ and __________ are __________________.

Commonly used transition words for contrast: although, but, by contrast, conversely, despite the fact, even though, however, in contrast, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the contrary, on the other hand, regardless, whereas, while, yet 

  • _______ is ________, while ___________ is __________________.
  • __________ is___________, but ____________ is _______________.
  • _________ and ____________ are different in that _______________.
  • While ________ shows __________, __________ shows __________.
  • ______ is _______, on the other hand _______ is __________.
  • ________________, yet _______________________.
  • Although ______________________, ________________________.
  • _________ and ____________ are different because ___________________.
  • A difference between _____________ and _______________ is ________________.

Love this lesson plan, but don’t have time to recreate it? Click the link below to download everything you need to compare and contrast Jamestown and Plymouth in printable and digital formats! 

Jamestown vs. Plymouth Compare and Contrast Lesson

“This was a great way to easily see the similarities and differences between the two colonies.  It was perfect for structuring and writing a compare/contrast essay.” -Lori P.

Common Core Standards

  • RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
  • RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
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