Jamestown Newspaper

A WebQuest for 5th Grade (Social Studies)

Designed by John Boyer


Introduction | Task | Process | < Resources | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits


In this webquest we will explore what life was like in Colonial Jamestown, Virginia.


You and your group members will create a newspaper from Jamestown. Each of you will research and write one article on a specific topic. Each group member will contribute an article and illustration to the newspaper.

Group Roles

Top News Story- Your job is to write a top news story article to be the featured story of your newspaper. This article should be about some event, thing, or person that had a great effect upon most of the people living in the Jamestown settlement. This story should grab the reader’s attention, making him or her want to read your newspaper. However, it must be based upon facts you uncover in your research. A picture that supports your article in some way, and is drawn by you, must be included with your article.

Food Column- Food in Jamestown was a major concern to the settlers. Your job is to write a story about a food found only in the New World. Your article will explain what it is, how it is used, where it is found or how it is grown, and/or how the Native Americans use it. A picture that supports your article in some way, and is drawn by you, must be included with your article.

Feature- Your job is to write an article about one of four important individuals to the Jamestown settlement. You choose from four: Pocahontas, John Smith, John Rolf, or Powahatan. Your article may include who this person is, what they do for a living, why they came to the New World (if they were not born here), what, if any, plans they have for their future, and any other information you determine is important to who they are. A picture that supports your article in some way, and is drawn by you, must be included with your article.

Your job is to write an article based upon your opinion of some aspect of Jamestown. Editorials are articles on the writers opinion, not just factual news. They typically write about issues that affect many people. Often readers will not agree on what the author writes, but others will. You must, however, support your opinion with facts. Often editorials are about what you think should be done to criminals, what you think about certain laws that may be in effect or may be under consideration, or what you believe is the best use of limited resources.


  1. Decide who will write each article
  2. Read the guidelines for your article
  3. Visit different web site links listed in Resources
  4. Write down important information, making sure to spell names correctly
  5. Check out http://earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/past/index.html to see what old newspapers looked like. Be sure to click on each image, to enlarge each picture. Think about how you want your newspaper to look.
  6. Once you have gathered all your information, begin writing your article
  7. When you finish your article think about a unique title, or headline. The headline should grab the reader’s attention, and make them want to read your article. It should be in larger font or print than the rest of your article
  8. Remember to S.C.O.P.E. your article. Do you have a hook? Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  9. When you have a final copy meet with your group to decide on the design of your newspaper.
  10. Once you have your design approved by the teacher you may begin.
  11. Do a nice job these will be on display for all to read.
  12. In addition to your four articles and four pictures you must include two other sections.
  13. These sections will be up to you. A few suggestions could be: comics, advertisements, sports, etc.



Top News Story Information Sites

List of Original Settlers and their Occupations – http://www.apva.org/history/list.html

Colony timeline– http://www.look.net/gunstonelem/gunstonElemF/Jamestown.html

Brief History – http://www.tobacco.org/History/jamestown.html

Jamestown Food Resources

What did the colonists eat? - http://www.apva.org/exhibit/eats.html

Food in the 13 colonies - http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/13coloniesfood.htm

Colonial food at Williamsburg - http://www.history.org/Almanack/life/life.cfm

Feature Resources

John Smith- http://www.apva.org/history/jsmith.html

More John Smith- http://www.virtualjamestown.org/jsmith.html

John Rolf – http://www.apva.org/history/jrolfe.html

More John Rolf – http://www.virtualjamestown.org/jrolfe.html

Pocahontas 1 – http://www.apva.org/history/pocahont.html

Pocahontas 2 – http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/1001/poca.html

Pocahontas 3 – http://www.powhatan.org/pocc.html

Pocahontas 4 – http://www.inna.net/pocahontas/chron.htm

Pocahontas 5 – http://www.co.henrico.va.us/manager/pokeypix.htm

Powhatan 1 - http://www.virtualjamestown.org/Powhat1.html

Powhatan 2 - http://www.co.gloucester.va.us/powha1.htm

Powhatan 3 - http://www.nps.gov/colo/Jthanout/Indianlife.html


Editorial Idea Links

A Virtual Tour of Jamestown – http://www.virtualjamestown.org/

History of Jamestown – http://www.apva.org/history/index.html

Roanoke – http://www.teachersfirst.com/summer/col-roanoke.htm

Jamestown – http://teachersfirst.com/summer/col-jamestown.htm


Additional Resources for all Groups

Selection from John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia - http://www.nv.cc.va.us/home/nvsageh/Hist121/Part1/JohnSmith.htm

Jamestown - http://www.Williamsburg.com/James/James.html

Jamestown, Virginia overview - http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/socialstudies/projects/jvc/overview.html



  1. Every student will receive a writing grade from the writing scoring guides we always use in class. This is an individual grade for your own writing.
  2. Each group will receive a group grade. This grade will be broken down into layout, authenticity, neatness, and creativity.
  3. The individual grade will be worth 20 points.
  4. The group grade will be worth 30 points.
  5. You will have a total of 50 points



Credits & References


Based on a template from The WebQuest Page