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In this unit, students will briefly review geography, including vocabulary terms, reading maps and correctly labeling maps. They will learn and analyze motives for European exploration and settlement America in the 17th century. They will learn about the French, Spanish, English, Puritans, Pilgrims, Catholics and Quakers (why each group came and where they settled). Activities include learning geography through the Zombie Apocalypse, comparing and contrasting the motives for current refugee groups and historical ones, evaluating the best push and pull factors of the 17th-century Europeans and a competitive ‘Claim the Classroom’ simulation for colonization.

At the end of the unit, students will create a persuasive Prezi (online presentation tool) from the perspective of a European country. The goal of their presentation is to convince classmates to join their country on a ship to settle the New World.

This unit is designed to be taught at the beginning of the year in an 8th grade scope and sequence. It will set up the colonial regions and first governments in America.

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