Exploration and Colonization

The Teach Tennessee History website is designed to assist teachers in implementing the 2015 Tennessee State Social Studies Standards.  Please use the menu links to the left to access the following resources for Exploration and Colonization:

ETHS Teaching Materials:  Click on ETHS Teaching Materials to find student-friendly essays and classroom activities developed by ETHS staff.  The essays and activities are designed based on the Tennessee Social Studies Standards. The downloadable teacher packets also include primary sources and images when available.

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Additional Resources: Click on Additional Resources to find additional activites and links to useful websites. 

Standards 4.1-4.20

The Land and People before European Exploration

Students describe the legacy and cultures of the major indigenous settlements of Tennessee. 

4.1 Describe the legacy and cultures of the major indigenous settlements in Tennessee including the Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian: (C, G, TN)

  • Coats-Hines Site
  • Pinson Mounds
  • Old Stone Fort
  • Chucalissa Indian Village

4.2  Analyze religious beliefs, customs and various folklore traditions of the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw, including: (C, TN)

  •       • Principal Chief
  •       • summer and winter homes
  •       • Beloved Woman
  •       • recreation
  •       • clans
  •       • maternal designations 

4.4 Trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas, including: (C, E, G, H, P, TN)

  • Christopher Columbus
  •  Ferdinand Magellan
  •  Amerigo Vespucci
  • Robert de La Salle
  •  Hernando de Soto
  •  Henry Hudson
  •  Jacques Cartier

4.5 Analyze the impact of exploration and settlement on the indigenous peoples and the environment, including military campaigns, Columbian Exchange, and European agricultural practices. (C, G)

4.6 Create a graphic organizer identifying the five different countries (France, Spain, Portugal, England, and the Netherlands) that influenced different regions of the present United States at the time the New World was being explored, and describe how their influence can be traced to place names. (G) Settling the Colonies to The 1700s Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers. Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.

4.7 Summarize the failure of the lost colony of Roanoke and theorize what happened. (G, H)

4.8 Describe the early competition between European nations for control of North America and locate the colonization efforts of the English, Dutch, French, and Spanish on a map. (E, G, H, P)

4.9 Compare and contrast the differing views of American Indians and colonists on ownership or use of land and the conflicts between them, including the Pequot and King Philip’s Wars in New England. (G, P)

4.10 Explain the cooperation that existed between the colonists and American Indians during the 1600s and 1700s, including fur trade, military alliances, treaties, and cultural interchanges. (G, P)

4.11 Describe the conflicts between Indian nations, including the competing claims for control of land and actions of the Iroquois and Huron. (G, P)

4.12 Analyze the factors that led to the defeat of the American Indians, including the resistance of Indian nations to encroachment and the effects on native culture. (C, H, P)

4.13 Locate the first 13 colonies and explain how their location and geographic features influenced their development and settlement patterns. (G)

4.14 Write informative texts identifying major leaders and groups responsible for the founding of colonies in North America and the reasons for their founding, including: (C, E, H, P)

  • Lord Baltimore, Maryland
  •  John Smith, Virginia
  • Roger Williams, Rhode Island
  •  John Winthrop, Massachusetts
  • William Bradford, Plymouth
  •  James Oglethorpe, Georgia
  •  William Penn, Pennsylvania

4.15 Cite and explain examples from informational texts about how economic opportunities and political, religious, and social institutions evolved in the colonial era. (C, E, G, H, P)

4.16 Making use of primary documents, analyze the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the significance of representative assemblies and town meetings and contrast these with the presence of enslavement in all colonies. (P)

4.17 Describe the major religious tenets of the earliest colonies, including: (C)

  •  Puritanism in Massachusetts
  •  Quakerism in Pennsylvania

4.18 Explain various reasons why people came to the colonies, including profit, religious freedom, slavery, and indentured servitude. (C, E, H)

4.19 Locate and label on a map the location of Jamestown, Plymouth, New Netherland, New Sweden, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (G)

4.20 Explain the impact of individuals who created interest in land west of the Appalachian Mountains, including: (C, E, G, TN)


Standards 8.1-8.18

Colonialism (1600-1750)

Students will understand the social, political, and economic reasons for the movement of people from Europe to the Americas, and they will describe the impact of colonization by Europeans on American Indians and on the development of the land that eventually became the United States of America.

8.1 Explain the primary motivations for English colonization of the New World, including the rise of the middle class (joint stock companies), the need to move surplus population, and the search for religious freedom. (E, G, H)

8.2 Trace and explain the founding of Jamestown, including: (E, G, H)

Virginia Company, James River, John Smith, Pocahontas, Powhatan, John Rolfe, “starving time”, Tobacco   Bacon’s Rebellion, Indentured servants and slaves , The arrival of women, House of Burgesses 

8.3 Explain the founding of the Plymouth Colony, including the Separatists, William Bradford, Mayflower, Mayflower Compact, and Squanto. (C, G, H, P)

8.4 Analyze the reasons for the settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the events and the key figures of the colonies, including: (C, E, G, H, P ) 
  • Non-Separatists/Puritans

  • John Winthrop

  • theocracy

  • Town meetings

  • Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams-Rhode Island

  • Thomas Hooker-Connecticut

  • Salem Witchcraft Trials  

8.5 Describe the settlement of New Netherlands and the subsequent possession of the colony by the English, including: (C, E, G, H) 

Dutch influences, Peter Stuyvesant, Patroon System, Renaming to New York, Diverse population 

8.6 Analyze the founding of Pennsylvania as a haven for Quakers and the tolerance that drew many different groups to the colony, including: (C, E, H, P) 

8.7 Explain the reasons behind the settlement of the Georgia Colony, including the role of John Oglethorpe and Georgia as a “debtor” colony and a “buffer” colony. (C, E, G, H) 

8.8 Describe the location and reasons for French exploration and settlements in North America, including the Huguenots. (E, G, H, P) 

8.9 Cite textual evidence analyzing examples of both cooperation and conflict between American Indians and colonists, including agriculture, trade, cultural exchanges, and military alliances and conflicts. (C, E, G, H, P) 

8.10 Locate and identify the first 13 colonies, and describe how their location and geographic features influenced their development. (E, G, H, P) 

8.11 Describe the significance of and the leaders of the First Great Awakening, and the growth in religious toleration and free exercise of religion. (C, H, P) 

8.12 Compare and contrast the day-to-day colonial life for men, women, and children in different regions and of different ethnicities, including the system of indentured servitude, as well as their connection to the land. (C, E, G, H, P) 

  • The First Virginia Charter, 1606
  • The Mayflower Compact, 1620 

  • Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629

  • The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, 1639

  • The New England Articles of Confederation, 1643

  • The Maryland Toleration Act, 1649 

8.14 Identify the origins and development of slavery in the colonies, overt and passive resistance to enslavement, and the Middle Passage. (C, E, G, H, P) 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from The First Virginia Charter, 1606; The Mayflower Compact, 1620; excerpts from the Charter of Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629; excerpts from The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, 1639; excerpts from The Maryland Toleration Act, 1649; excerpts from The New England Articles of Confederation; excerpts from A Historie of Virginia, (“starving time”) John Smith; excerpts from Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford 

Development of a New Nation (1720-1787)

Students will understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American Republic. 

8.15 Compare the government structures and economic base and cultural traditions of New France and the English colonies. (C, E, G, H, P)

8.16 Explain how the practice of salutary neglect, experience with self-government, and wide spread ownership of land fostered individualism and contributed to the American Revolution. (C, E, H, P)

8.17 Evaluate the contributions of Benjamin Franklin to American society in the areas of science, writing and literature, and politics, including analysis of excerpts from Poor Richard’s Almanack, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the Albany Plan of Union and the Join or Die cartoon. (C, H, P)

8.18 Describe the impact of the John Peter Zenger trial on the development of the principle of a free press. (C, P)