Investigate and Gather - Colonial Times

People working during the colonial period


  • Generating Questions / Time: 15 minutes

    The Identify stage is a challenging, important, exciting stage in the inquiry process.

    With teacher/librarian assistance, students will generate questions, and the librarian will work with students to group them into categories. Using a Google Doc will provide flexibility to move ideas around on the page.

    Questions can be posted throughout the Gather and Create Phases to remind students about their research questions.

  • Gather Phase / Centers / Time: 60 minutes

    Students will investigate resources that address class research questions.


    Up to four students per center (recommended)

    Centers can be repeated (e.g., have two writing centers)

    Simple notes should be recorded in the History Journal using drawings and simple sentences, and source strips should be glued into journals for the centers that were visited.

    Students will also document their learning by taking photographs using iPads.

    Student Choice:

    Student choice is important. Although a few centers (e.g., writing & PebbleGo) may be required for all students, allowing students to make some choices, tailored to individual interest, can be a great motivator.

    Wrap Up:

    At the end of the Gather phase, bring students together to debrief their research/activities and do a guided Quick Write as a group. Some key items to discuss are:

    • What were toys made of during Colonial times? What are most toys made of today?
    • What were pens made of during Colonial times? What are pens made of today?
    • Was it easier or harder to write during Colonial times than it is now?
    • Why were there no cars in Colonial times?

    Discuss ways technology has changed communication, recreation, and transportation.

Phase: Investigate & Gather
  • This phase is intended to:

    Allow students to develop question/s of personal interest and have time to gather relevant information to answer the question/s.

    Key ideas:

    • Encourage authentic questions (connected to real life, real world problems)
    • Assist students in refining/revising questions (6th-12th)
    • Encourage use of primary and secondary sources
    • Note taking 
    • Cite sources