Children in Colonial America and Today
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Trident Academy 5th Grade student dressed in colonial costume

Welcome to our colonial history web site! This is where we will compare children's colonial life to our American life now.  We will also expand our horizons and look at our world to compare how children in other parts of our world live today.

In this exercise, we are going to explore the lives of three different children who lived during the colonial period.  Then we will compare what we have learned with how we live today.  On a global perspective, we will learn how children live today in other parts of the world.
First, we will start with Sarah Morton.  The color photographs in the book were shot on location at the Plimouth Plantation. The story takes us through a typical day of chores and events for Pilgrim youngsters. The story is recreated from actual accounts. Close-ups show the details of how clothes were laced, how fields were harvested, how fences were constructed. Nightcaps, muskets and cauldrons that were routine in yesteryear daily life, now fascinate us as oddities. Sarah was a real child who arrived on the Mayflower; Sarah was nine in 1627, and she is mentioned in several Pilgrim journals.

Russ Kendall photographed Amelia Poole in the role of Sarah, as she and her colleagues dressed, work, and spoke like the Pilgrims of 1627.  A comparison of nine-year-old Sarah's and your clothes, homes, and sunup-to-sundown activities is what the students who are assigned this book will be doing on the chart I will provide you.


Sarah Morton

A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl

Our second book is about a six-year-old Pilgrim boy, Samuel, who we will follow through a busy day during the spring harvest in 1627: doing chores, getting to know his Wampanoag Indian neighbors, and spending time with his family. In the story, young Samuel Eaton has hardly slept from excitement! Today, he will do a man's work--helping with his first rye harvest. But as his hands become blistered and the sun beats down, he wonders if he's up to the task. Let's compare and contrast to see how his life differs from today's children.


Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

by Kate Waters, Russ Kendall (Photographer), Russ Kendall (Photographer)

Finally, our third book is about Tampenum.  By following his day, we will learn how the Wampanoag Indians lived in the 1600s. Their homes, clothing, food, and weapons are shown and explained in the story. Their societal structure is introduced as Tapenum describes each family member's duties and his own desire to become a respected member of his community.  Tapenum is a representative figure, not a real person; his experiences are based on conjecture, not fact. Much of what is known about the Wampanoags comes from archaeological findings in the area where the photos were taken.


Tapenum's Day
A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times

by Kate Waters, Russell Kendall (Illustrator), Russell Kendall (Photographer)

American Children Today and Children of Other Lands
Comparing our past history to present history shoud also cover a global perspective.  We will also want to look at how children in other lands live today.  In this video, we will see how Andres and his Mexican family live. 

Your Task
You will be assigned a book and a reading partner.  Group one will use our social studies classroom for reading.  Group two will use the first reading room next to Ms. Difabio's classroom.  And group three will use the second reading room next to Ms. Oliger's room.  While reading, place a sticky note on the pages that have information you will want to write on your comparison chart. The student who has been assigned the reading on today's children will view the video on Children of Other Lands: Andres Orosco of Mexico and follow along with the text hand-out.  Just click on the link below for the video.

Children of Other Lands

4/5th Grade Social Studies * Trident Academy * Mary Silgals, MLIS * September 10, 2007