Third Grade - Geography - Lesson 8 - Geography of the New England and Middle Atlantic Colonies

Recognize that proximity to water influenced the development of cities.
Label the New England and Middle Atlantic colonies on a map.

Classroom-size U. S. map
1 per student
Colonies map (attached)

Ask the students to recall that the first settlers traveled on ships to reach the New World and formed colonies along the east coast of what is now the United States. Remind the students that the Atlantic coast also had many bays which made it easy for ships to come close to shore. Ask: What is the definition of a bay? (An inlet of the ocean partly surrounded by land.)
Review with the students that two important bays to the colonists were the Chesapeake Bay and the Massachusetts Bay. Have two students locate the bays on the classroom U. S. map. Point out the way the land partly surrounds the water to form the bay.
Remind the students that colonial towns were built close to the water because access to a port was very important. Ask: Why were ports important to the development of a colonial town? (Major towns and cities had to have access to ships bringing people and goods to and from Europe.)
Give a map of the New England and Middle Atlantic Colonies to each student. Ask students to name all the colonial cities located on the Atlantic Ocean or a bay (Boston, MA; Plymouth, MA; Baltimore, MD; Williamsburg, VA; Jamestown, VA). Write the name of the city and the colony on the board as students name them. Remind the students that these cities were important in the development of trade because of their closeness to the ocean.
Direct the students' attention to the fact that although Philadelphia isn't located directly on the ocean or a bay, it is located on a river. Explain that rivers were also important waterways because boats could navigate up and down rivers to get to inland towns and cities.
Tell the students that in Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia, was built on the Delaware River. Direct the students' attention to the classroom U. S. map. Point out that Philadelphia had access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Delaware River. Ask: Remembering that other colonial towns were built around a seaport, why would access to a waterway be important to the city of Philadelphia? (made travel easier, trade)
Tell the students that William Penn traveled up the Delaware River and decided to build Pennsylvania's capital, Philadelphia, on the river. Explain that since Pennsylvania is centrally located, the colonists who lived in Philadelphia were able to more easily trade with colonies both in the North and the South, as well as foreign countries since the Delaware River opened out into the Atlantic Ocean. Remind the students that in addition to being a center for trade, Philadelphia also played an important role in the development of the government of the United States.
Direct the students' attention back to their individual maps. Tell the students that they will notice that the names of the major cities are marked, but there is something else missing. Ask: What is missing on the maps? (the names of the colonies) Tell the students that they are to label each of the colonies in the New England and Middle Atlantic regions by writing its name on the lines shown. Remind the students that the cities shown should help them with some of the colonies and they may look at the list below the map to help with the spelling of the names of the colonies.