ALEX Learning Activity


Thirteen Colonies

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Emily Fogleman
System:Hoover City
School:Brock's Gap Intermediate School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1868
Thirteen Colonies
Digital Tool/Resource:
Time Zone X: Thirteen Colonies (BrainPOP)
Web Address – URL:

This activity can serve as a companion activity after students have been learning about the Thirteen Colonies. The Time Zone X activity asks students to think about important events during this time period and put them in chronological order. This game can be used whole class, as a cooperative learning activity, or as an independent practice or assessment tool. 

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 5
United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
5 ) Explain the early colonization of North America and reasons for settlement in the Northern, Middle, and Southern colonies, including geographic features, landforms, and differences in climate among the colonies.

•  Recognizing how colonial development was influenced by the desire for religious freedom
Example: development in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Maryland colonies

•  Identifying influential leaders in colonial society
•  Describing emerging colonial government
Examples: Mayflower Compact, representative government, town meetings, rule of law

Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Studies: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Explain the reasons for settlement and early colonization of North America in the Northern, Middle, and Southern colonies.
  • Describe the influence of prominent leaders in colonial society.
  • Describe the characteristics of the emerging colonial governments and the lasting effects.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • colonization
  • representative government
  • geographic features
  • rule of law
Students know:
  • The location of the various colonies was based upon many factors such as geographic location, landforms, and climate. Colonial development was often influenced by the desire for religious freedom.
  • Many distinguishing factors of colonial governments continue to influence the development of the United States.
Students are able to:
  • Locate colonies on a physical and political map.
Students understand that:
  • That a variety of geographic, religious, and socio-political factors influenced the location of the various colonial settlements.
  • The emerging colonial governments had lasting effects still evident today.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.5.5- Classify the American colonies into three regions, each with distinct climates and natural resources (South: farming, warm climate, Middle: farming, trading, moderate climate, New England: subsistence farming, trade, shipbuilding, cold climate); recognize characteristics of early colonial life in North America.

Learning Objectives:

  • The student will sort related events from the early colonization of North America in chronological order using an interactive timeline tool.
  • The student will explain the relationships between events on the timeline by designing their own interactive game.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
During/Explore/Explain, After/Explain/Elaborate

This activity is best used after teaching a lesson on the early colonization of North America. Below are some ways that you can incorporate this game into a lesson. There are several ways this game can be used:

  • Play Time Zone X as part of your instruction, in either a whole group or small group setting. Project the game on the board and have students share their ideas and discuss where they think the cards belong and why.
  • Incorporate Time Zone X as a cooperative learning activity. Invite students to work collaboratively with a partner or group and explain their thinking as they select where to place each event on the timeline.
  • Have students play Time Zone X multiple times to collect more artifacts and try to beat their personal best score. 
  • Challenge students to create their own game including different events from this time period than the game. 


Assessment Strategies:

Time Zone X itself can be used as an assessment tool.

You can also assess student learning by having students create their own timeline game and include the cards from the game online, as well as additional cards made from other learning.

Students can play their games with a peer and sort the cards chronologically (with no more than 8-10 cards).


Advanced Preparation:

The teacher should preview the game before presenting it to students and make sure that the classroom is equipped with compatible playing devices.

Variation Tips (optional):

You may choose to play this game as a whole class first, so students understand how to place the cards. In addition, students with disabilities or learning deficits may need their Time Zone X cards to be accommodated/modified to fit their present levels of performance. This game can easily be adapted to a physical game for students who may not have 1-1 access to a device, or may not be proficient at using a computer. 

If you have a paid BrainPop account, you may choose to have students watch the BrainPop video, "Thirteen Colonies" before playing the game and integrate it into your lesson. You can view the video with a paid subscription to BrainPOP.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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