Teaching the 13 Colonies

How to teach the 13 colonies

Teachers know that when students learn and understand on a deeper level when they engage in the content. Engagement leads to class enjoyment for students, which is so important to teachers. Thus, it is imperative to have creative, exciting lessons! There are so many ways to do this, since different types of learners make up each classroom. Helping students understand how America ultimately was formed is crucial! Many students may just assume that the United States came together at once. Therefore, the tips below for teaching the 13 colonies will be incredibly helpful at understanding how America was formed. 

5 Tips for Teaching the 13 Colonies 

Hands-On Activity: 13 Colonies Scavenger Hunt 

This engaging, collaborative activity will allow students to review the 13 colonies! To complete, students will rotate through three different stations, where they will use clues to determine whether the New England, Middle, or Southern colony is being represented. The EDITABLE clues review government, location, education, climate, and economy. Students will use critical thinking skills in order to formulate an answer. Then, students will need to explain their thinking in a short response, which must include supporting evidence to prove their knowledge of the 13 colonies. Students are applying their analysis skills!


13 Colonies review  activity



When teaching the 13 colonies, it can be hard to find ways to help students visualize a country without 50 states, however, it is essential that students understand America was not built overnight. Showing videos will be beneficial to do this. For instance, 13 American Colonies provides outstanding visuals on the locations of the colonies and how people made money. Students can gain a better understanding of settlers and how they helped America form. Furthermore, with The 13 Colonies for Kids students will learn about colonies, explorers, and how colonial people developed ways to survive. Both of these kid-friendly videos will show students how settlers and explorers found ways to utilize land resources to survive! 

Map Skills

When teaching the 13 colonies, it is important for students to understand locations. Bringing in map skills during this unit will be incredibly beneficial. Ultimately, this will help students understand how climate and geography played a key role in shaping each colony. When students examine locations on a map, they will see why each colony relied upon certain crops. While learning map skills may be challenging, it will be incredibly beneficial to understanding what helped colonists survive. 

Get Techy with a 13 Colonies Escape Room 

After teaching the 13 colonies unit, it will be vital to review the material to ensure students fully understand it. However, a standard worksheet may bore students. To liven up the lesson, students can now complete an escape room! Here, they will demonstrate their knowledge of the 13 colonies based on location, economy, government, climate, and education. When teaching the colonies, this is the perfect way to ensure students know the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. 


Thirteen colonies digital escape room

Class Book and Letters

Family members will LOVE to see students demonstrate their knowledge of the 13 colonies! Thus, this FREEBIE for blog exclusive subscribers will allow students to create a class book or individual letters describing everything they have learned. For example, students will explain what life was like in America during the colonial time period. There will be questions for them to select from when creating a book page or letter to provide guidance. Specifically, they will reflect on why colonists came to America, the characteristics of each colony, and the appearance of people. Students will explain what children did for fun and what school was like! There are so many guiding questions included to ensure students show off everything they learned. 

When students are learning about history, they may struggle to see how it connects to the present. However, teaching the 13 colonies shows how America was formed! With the tips above, a teacher can design engaging, creative lessons in no time at all! 

You may also like to read about Five Ways to Increase Social Studies Engagement!

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