Lesson 1: The Virginia Company of London and the Royal Charter

Time Estimated: 1-3 days



Students will:

  1. Understand four of the five reasons for establishing the Virginia Company of London
  2. Understand why England wanted a colony in the New World




For the whole class:

  • A copy of the Virginia Charter from the Thomas Jefferson Papers for display
  • Access to the computers with Publisher program

Enough copies for individual students:




  1. Hook: Show students the transcript copy of the Charter. Explain that this is a copy of the Charter that gave the Virginia Company of London the right to establish a colony in the New World.
  2. Students then divide into four to five groups. Each group gets an excerpt of the 1606 Virginia Charter.
  3. Put these five phrases on the board: Raw Materials, Gold, France & Spain, Market, and Citizenship.
  4. Explain that each group will be given a copy of one of the five quotes. As we read and decipher what the author was saying, they will need to identify which of the five topics he is referring to. The students will then share their quote with the class, and explain which of the five topics they felt it corresponded with.
  5. After each group has presented, explain that these were five of the most important pieces of the Virginia Charter. Explain that four were reasons for colonizing (gold, raw materials, Spain and France, and to have a market in the New World), and that the last guarantees colonists the rights of British citizens.
  6. As a whole class, brainstorm the kinds of people that would be helpful when colonizing a location. Workers, leaders, farmers, carpenters, etc, would all be needed.
  7. The students need to create a draft of a Help Wanted Poster. The poster should include three things:
    • An "advertisement" that explains why they need colonists for Virginia (see the reasons for colonization)
    • An example of the kind of colonist that they want
    • The guarantee of British citizenship.
  8. The students need to create a poster from this draft on Publisher, using the quick publication outlines. They can choose their individual design, but the template should be the same.
  9. Students will be assessed on whether or not their statement accurately depicts one of the 4 reasons presented for establishing the colony and the guarantee of the rights of citizenship (5 points). Their poster should include a graphic that represents their reason (5 points). Their poster should include the kinds of colonists they are looking for (5 points). The students are also responsible for the conventions of the poster (5 points). Total: 20 points.




Students have the option to create posters as elaborate or as simple as they choose. Differentiation also occurs during Language Arts in the literature circles. The lower reading level should read Pocahontas... while the higher group reads A Lion... Higher level students could also be given the task of researching the defeat of the Spanish Armada by England, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, or other European colonies in the New World. This lesson also incorporates different learning styles: interpersonal, artistic, logical, visual, and auditory.