4-6 Grade Field Trip Lesson

Jobs in the Colonial Period

Grades: 4-6

Subjects: Social Studies, Economics

Concepts: Colonial Economy, change over time, role of technology

Skills: Compare and contrast, analysis, reading comprehension, discussion

Materials: Handout: List of Colonial Jobs, Handout: What's Your Job?

Time: 1 class period

Focus Questions

  • What jobs were important on the New Hampshire frontier during the colonial period?
  • How were jobs during the Colonial Era different than jobs today?

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Identify jobs important to life on the New Hampshire frontier
  • Identify requirements for jobs on the frontier such as special training and education
  • Describe the basic tasks associated with certain colonial era jobs
  • Analyze the importance of certain jobs to the larger community
  • Compare and contrast jobs today with those of the colonial period
  • Explain the role of technology in influencing the world of work
Rationale and Background
Connection to the NH Framework Proficiencies

Introductory Activity

What Do You Do for Work?

In order to connect to students’ lives and raise the excitement level on the topic of studying colonial jobs, begin the lesson by asking the class “What do your family members do for work?”

You will get a range of answers and probably a high percentage of people who work with technology in some way. Ask students if any of these jobs were around during the colonial period? Can they suggest jobs that people had during the 18th century?

To stretch their thinking, ask them about the work that women and children did back then versus today. How is it different? How are some things the same? What does this say about the role of women and children in our society? Also, how has technology transformed people’s work?

Explain that this activity is designed to introduce them to jobs that people did during the colonial period in preparation for their visit to the Fort at Number Four/Living History Museum.

Instructional Resources or Materials

Instructional Procedure

  1. Explain to students that in order to get a feel for what life was like at The Fort at Number Four in the 1740s they are going to assume the job of a settler. Emphasize with students the importance for members of that frontier community to help each other. Explain how people specialized in certain jobs.
  2. To focus everyone’s attention, brainstorm different services and resources that a community living on the colonial frontier might need in order to survive, for example, food, clothing, protection, education, etc. Ask students what kinds of people would be needed in the community to fulfill these needs or provide these services. Distribute the Handout: Fort at Number Four: Job List
  3. Give students time to individually read through the eight jobs listed on the Handout. Then have students each select a job that interests them from the list. Groups of students will choose the same occupation. Distribute the Handout: What’s your job? and ask students to answer the questions individually.
  4. Place students together in the same group who chose the same job. For example, all those who chose “blacksmith” meet together in a circle in one part of the room. Have students discuss their answers to the Handout including why they chose that job.
  5. Call everyone back to their seats and, using the Handout as a guide, conduct a whole class discussion asking students share what they have learned about their colonial period job. As a class, discuss any job that was not chosen.

Wrap up the class discussion by having students generate two questions each to ask the Fort at Number Four Interpreters. Offer bonus points to students who actually get answers the day of the field trip.

End by reviewing student and teacher expectations of the field trip to Fort at Number Four.

Curriculum Modifications/Extension


Students complete the Handout: What’s your Job?

Students also participate in small group and whole class discussions.