Steps for Individual American Colony Research Paper Lesson
Step 1: Each student needs to choose a colony. The 13 original colonies include Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Step 2: Teachers need to share with students ideas for areas of research:
- Origin of settlers: Spain, France, Sweden, Holland, or England
- Colony region: the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies, or the Southern Colonies
- Economy: type of farming or fishing
- Religious beliefs
- Local government
- Daily life and difficulties
- Date of settlement
- Modes of transportation
- Unique traits of colony
These areas for research can be separate subheadings within the research paper.
Step 3: Give students the paper requirements:
- Follow the chosen paper style for format
- Cite enough sources (The number of sources can vary depending on the page length. For example, for a three to five page paper, students should have three or more sources)
For middle school, the students must have printed sources and highlighted notes with a rough draft. For high school, students need to have proper note cards. The amount depends on the page length. For a five page paper, 50 note cards may be the magic number.
- A rough draft should be hand written or typed during class. This will help cut down on plagiarism or students buying papers instead of writing them.
- A final copy should follow all of the rules for the chosen format or style.
Step 4: Set aside time to research. The teacher needs to decide if students can choose to just use Internet sources. The school libraries generally have a wealth of reference books on the American colonies. However, it is sometimes easier to book the computer lab and allow students to only use Internet sources.
The teacher can allot two to four days of research time.
Step 5: Students should create an outline to organize research.
Step 6: Students should turn in a rough draft of their paper with note cards or sources and notes. At this point, the teacher can have students peer-edit the papers and take a completion grade. The students should know at this point the focus for grading. Teachers can create a rubric, and the criteria could be content, organization, format, and writing conventions.
Step 7: Students should turn in a final copy of the paper.