What did Jamestown look like in the early 17th century?

Lesson Plan
Employments of Englishmen, Theodor de Bry

Employments of Englishmen, Theodor de Bry

Download this lesson: Jamestown Geography lesson plan


Upper Elementary


Virginia Standards of Learning

VS.3, VS.4

Applying geographic skills, Demonstrating comprehension, Making connections, Using information sources, Comparing and contrasting, Questioning and critical thinking skills

This lesson also meets national standards of learning for social studies



This lesson will help students:

Identify, review, and understand the five themes of geography

Explore how the early inhabitants of Virginia interacted with their environment

Make a visual representation of Jamestown in the 17th century

Essential Question:

What are the five themes of geography?

How did the Africans, the Powhatan Indians, and the English interact with their environment?

What did Jamestown look like in the early 17th century?


Jamestown Geography Images

Jamestown Geography Guiding Questions

Five Themes of Geography

Who were the English who set sail for America?

Who were the Powhatan Indians and how did they live?

Who were the Africans who came to Jamestown?


Step One: Explain to students that as they begin their study of Jamestown, they will look geographically at the site of Jamestown where all three cultures came together – the Powhatan Indians, the English, and the Africans. Students should be given access to the essays for background information on these three cultures.

Step Two: Review the Five Themes of Geography with the class, giving specific examples of each.

Step Three: Explain to the students that they will work in groups to create a class or school bulletin board about Jamestown in the 17th century, focused on the five themes of geography. Remind students that others will be learning from their work.

Step Four: Divide the class into five groups. Each group should have a leader who is responsible for organizing the material produced.

Step Five: Assign each group one of the five themes of geography as a focus for the group’s work. Distribute the guiding questions to get each group started.

Step Six: Groups can address their questions in a variety of ways, but they must produce visual representations such as maps, pictures, drawings, replicas, or primary sources. Students may create these themselves, find visual representations online or locate graphics and other material from additional resources, as approved by the instructor. Students are encouraged to use the Jamestown Geography — Period Images.


Have the leader of each group briefly report their findings to the rest of the class. Each group should have a clearly labeled bulletin board including a title that expresses the assigned theme.

Extension Ideas:

Students could use software like Padlet, or even Powerpoint to create a digital bulletin board

Invite the other classes in grade or school to visit the bulletin boards