Children of the Past and Present

Hook | Questions | Procedures | Data Investigation | Analysis | Findings | New Questions

Student Page
Created by:  Elvene Alcos, Breanna Brugman, Jholei Evans, Alicia Pane


Before children look at the student WIP page, they first need to indiviudaully draw a picutre of them and their family.  Encourage students to include deatils such as: clothing, the house they live in, and favorite family activities.  When students are finished, collect their art work

The way you dress, play, and behave today is different from the way Colonial children did. 

The Colonial Period took place long before your great-great-grandfather was born. 


By looking at the picutres above, can you tell how your life today is different from the children during Colonial times?  What do you think they did for fun?  What games did they play?  What kinds of toys did they have?  Do you think they ate the same food?  How is their food similar or different from the food you eat today?


Over-arching Question:
    How have people in the past influenced the people of the present?

There might be a list of sub-questions that will be asked as well.
    1.  How important is entertainment/games to children during Coloinal times?  Have people's view of entertainment changed?
    2.  How has education changed since Colonial time?
    3.  How has clothing changed since Colonial time?
    4.  Is the past connected to the present? How?


Type(s) of Data

Trade books:

  • Samuel Eaton's Day by: Katie Waters
  • Sarah Morton's Day by: Katie Waters  
Note:  Colonial Willamsburg and Pilmouth Planation are excellent resources for additional information that can be utilized by both the students and teachers. 

Defining Important Terms

battledores - a type of reading book used during Colonial times to teach phonetics

breeches - pants that reach to or just below the knees.  Men and boys wore breeches in the past 

Colonial - a time in history from 1500 to 1766 referring to when America had colonies

doublet - a jacket

garter - a strap or band that holds up a stocking or sock

hornbook - a small wooden paddle with just one sheet of paper glued to it that helped the students with phonics

petticoat - a skirt that is made to be worn underneath a dress or outer skirt by women or girls

Pilgrim - one of a group of English settlers who founded the colony of Plymouth in New England in 1620.  Pilgrim comes a Latin word that means foreigner 

stockings - a snug, knitted covering for the foot and leg

waistcoat - a man's vest.  An elaborate garment, with or without sleeves, formerly worn men, so as to show under the doublet 

Investigation Tool(s)

The photographs, trade books, and their own drawings

Manipulating Data

charts and concept map.

Data Investigation

There is often a giant leap from defining the type(s) of data desired and actually finding the data. Providing guidance to students in finding the necessary data may be necessary.

Trade books:

  • Samuel Eaton's Day by: Katie Waters 

  • Sarah Morton's Day by: Katie Waters 

  • These are books that descibe the clothing and daily lives of colonial children.
  •  This is a website that shows pictures of books used by colonial children and describes their use.  It also gives a desciption of what school was like during the colonial times.


Raw data/information usually has to be manipulated before it can answer any questions. Students might be unaware of how data can best be manipulated, so teacher guidance may be appropriate.

In small groups, students will develop a concept map about what they observed from the three pictures provided on the student page. (Hook)

Once students have developed their concept maps in their small groups, each group will share out to develop a collaborative concept map.  Student share out to the whole class in order for the class to have the same background knowledge.  (Individual knowledge becomes community knowledge)

Teacher will distribute previously collected family portraits.  In small groups, students will develop a concept map about what they observed from each others family picture.  

Once students have developed their concept maps in their small groups, each group will share out to develop a collaborative concept map.  Student share out to the whole class in order for the class to have the same background knowledge.Both concept maps will be displayed for the students to use as a reference. 

Ask the children if the infromation they have gathered so far are the only similarites and differences between colonial children and children of today. Then students would work with a partner to analyze different resources and fill out the comparison chart.  

Games and Toys
Daily Activities
Colonial Time








Leap frog

Game of chase

Wooden and cloth dolls



Wooden houses



Fences made of willow branches

Milk goats

Make Butter

Make soap

Feed the animals

Prepare supper

Say daily prayers




Girls wear pants and shorts

Tennis shoes

Bright colored clothing


Computer games

Wall ball




Concrete houses

Brick houses

Attend school


Video games/t.v.



No result is meaningful unless communicated appropriately. Discussion of findings should be supported. There may or may not be definitive answers to the questions students raised. 

The first concept map should allow the children to make observations of the photographs provided in the hook.  The ideas discovered are based on children interpreatation of the pictures. They are most likely to notice the types of clothings, animals, and the surrounding background of the picture.

In the second concept map students share out other observations, which are added to the first concept map. This allows the students to have the same schema. 

For the third concept map, the students are examining their self-made family drawing.  They will have most likely included immediate family members, pets, toys, clothing, and their home. 

In the fourth concept map, students share out the reults of their examinations.  This information is then added to the third concept map.

Now the students have two concept maps to refer to when charting the differnces between children during Coloinal time and children of today.  Children will be given a blank chart (as shown above) where they will fill in the appropriate categories using the two concept maps and hopefully use additional information gained from the readings and web resources. 

Possible New Questions

Answers often lead to new questions, starting the inquiry cycle over again.

    -  What was their education like?
    -  What types of food did they eat? (Did they have grocery stores?)
    -  Did they trade with the Native Americans?
    -  Were the Colonial children friends with the Native American children?