The Thirteen Colonies

A Webquest

Adapted from colonial webquests by

Teri Beckner and Kristen Robertson, and Grace A. Bunya

For David Christensens Fifth Grade Class


Your expertise is needed immediately! We need three historians to report on the 13 original colonies. The information you provide will be used to teach others about colonial times. Through researching the colonization of America, you will discover the similarities and differences of the Southern, Middle and New England Colonies. For each region you will uncover the hardships that the settlers faced while creating a new life that was accepting of everyone. You will discover the challenges they faced territorial, differences and similarities, religious factors, and slavery issues.

After analyzing your findings, your team will create a multimedia presentation and a timeline to illustrate the colonization period.

  The Task

The task is to identify and make discoveries of the 13 original colonies. You will uncover this information through research. Your final report will include:

  • Identification of the 13 original colonies
  • Founders of each colony and the year it was founded
  • Descriptions of why colonies were founded
  • Key founding fathers
  • Geographical characteristics of each colony
  • Role of religious development
  • Attitude toward slavery
  • Economic conditions (What was the main way to make a living?)
  • Multimedia presentation
  • A timeline of the regions



The Process

1.      The three experts on your team will be divided into three regions. Each person must choose a region.

  1. Each expert must print out their Information Sheet for their region.

The Southern Colonies

The Middle Colonies

The New England Colonies

  1. Using the information sheet answer the questions below for your area of expertise.

List the colonies in your region, date colony was founded, and explain who founded the colony.


13 Colonies

Founding the American Colonies



Charter and documents

Founding the American Colonies

Colonial Timeline

Description of why these colonies were founded.

American Colonies

List three geographical characteristics of each colony.

Southern Colonies


South Colonies Chart

Geography and Natural Resources


Middle Colonies


Middle Colonies Chart

Middle Colonies - Geography and Natural Resources


New England Colonies


New England Colonies - Chart

New England - Geography and Natural Resources


What role did religion play in the development of your region?

Virtual Religion Index

Describe slavery in your region or the attitude towards slavery.



Once the Information Sheet has been completed, all 3 experts will come together to share findings. Each team member needs to share his information with the other members. After discussing the information, determine the similarities and difference discovered between the regions. Create a multimedia presentation using PowerPoint. Your discoveries must include a minimum of 10 slides ranging for a duration of 3-5 minutes. The presentation MUST be a collaborative effort.

Use the topics below as a guide for each of your slides:

     Title Page

     Introduction (description of why these colonies were founded who settled there and why)

     List the colonies in your region, date colony was founded, and explain who founded the colony.

     Geographic Characteristics (colonies, cities, rivers, etc.  Include a map)

     Key founding fathers (why notable)

     Daily life (Roles of men, women and children, food, shelter, songs, games etc.)

     Role religion played in the development of your region

     Economic conditions (trades & farming & manufacturing)

     Attitudes toward slavery

     Credits including URLs of informational sites, image sites, and textbook references

4. Develop a pictorial timeline for Colonial America. Work together as a group to complete the timeline.

Construct a pictorial timeline for the colonization of the colonies. Upon completion of your timeline, hang it in the hall to share your discoveries.

Other Sources of Information

Basic Information


African American Experience


Colonial Life

Colonial Occupations and Trades

Tons of sites

Biographies of Colonist



Other Resources





Your team will be given two grades for this project. One grade will be an individual grade for the regional research as recorded in your notes. The notes must be approved as being complete and turned in on time.

The second will be a combined group grade for the PowerPoint and timeline. A rubric follows on the next page identifying the evaluation criteria.
















Group PowerPoint/Timeline Presentation Rubric

Southern Expert _____________________
Middle Expert _____________________
New England Expert _____________________








1 point

2 points

3 points

4 points




One main speaker; little participation from other group members

Most group members participate

All group members have significant participation

Well-balanced participation by all group members



Minimal background pertaining to group point-of-view presented

Some background given but significant pieces missing

Background adequate but lacks flow

In-depth background information



No recommendation, or no evidence given

No consensus among group members, or no explanation given for group recommendation

Recommendation given, but not fully supported by evidence

Recommendation given, evidence well-chosen, explanation thorough



No consideration of another point-of-view

Response shows lack of understanding

Adequate response given

Response to another point-of-view shows insight



Inaccurate information given

Most information accurate

Information accurate

Accurate, in-depth information enhances presentation



Very weak visual component

Some pictures or diagrams, but poorly planned

Adequate visuals, but not very interesting

Visually attractive, i.e. includes colorful pictures or diagrams, uses space well