This lesson allows students to view pictures and make inferences from the images about why Europeans left for America in the 17th and 18th centuries. First, you can introduce the idea of inferences and review or teach students how to make reasonable suppositions from a text. Students then have an opportunity to talk with their groups and go through ideas about why Europeans left based on the visuals. Lastly, you can have a discussion with your students that helps lead them towards the correct responses that represent why Europeans left for America.
Rationale for the lesson
It is very important to not only acknowledge the founding documents of America but to study the varied motivations Europeans had for initially coming to America. One major reason is that motivations lead to behaviors and those behaviors had effects in America. Furthermore, understanding why people leave their homeland can help us to better understand why people leave today and how to help other countries succeed so fewer people leave.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
You can use this lesson as an introduction to a unit on Colonial America. In that case, students could literally have zero knowledge of anything related to the unit. You can also use the pictures as a review activity to see if students can make connections between what you have taught and the pictures. Finally, if you want to use this lesson with middle schoolers, provide a bit more prompting when you discuss the pictures. If you want to use the lesson with high school students, use less prompting. If you want to use the lesson AP students, provide zero prompting. In short, it is a fun and thorough activity that can be used with just about any level of student.