We started the week before traveling reviewing the different regions of Virginia (which is a first grade SOL standard). My girls have experience traveling around the state so we were able to compare our real-life experiences to the different land regions.
Each girl has a field notebook for science and social studies, so I printed out small maps of Virginia (when you hit print you can just select '2' per page or '3 per page' to make anything smaller) that they could color and glue into their notebooks.
Geography - Virginia Regions
This gave way to discussing how the differences in the regions impact how people live and make their money in the region, which is another first grade SOL objective. (For my third grader, this is a great warm up to discussing ancient civilizations. We've established that how people live is influenced by the environment. We'll pull out that concept later.)
How people live based on their land leads into learning about both first and third grade economic standards as well. (Goods and services, producers, consumers, making choices, and specialization).
Here are some of the resources I found and printed for my girls to put into their notebooks.
Studying maps of Virginia also leads to the first grade standards of reading a map, using a map key/legend, and a compass rose.
Science - Ecosystems
Before we dove into the history of Jamestown and Williamsburg we also looked into ecosystems. This is a second/third grade standard and I knew that understanding the wetlands that surround Jamestown would help understand the history there (hint: the mosquitos and lack of water).
Around this time we also found a snail in the backyard and made a habitat for him, which played right into this discussion.
In studying ecosystems and our snail we also looked at producers, consumers, and decomposers (third grade standard), as well as the food chain (first grade). This also laid some groundwork for how the animals in the new world worked together, and how humans changed that as they settled into Jamestown. (Another first grade AND third grade SOL).
For all of this we drew a lot of pictures in our science notebooks. I haven't saved the youtube videos we watched, but there are so many out there that a quick search found an abundance of videos on ecosystems, consumers/producers/decomposers, and the food chain.
And so, we were ready to dive into the historical aspect of Jamestown and Williamsburg.
Khan Academy has excellent videos on this time, and while I thought they would be over my first grader's head, she loved them.
fantastic resource about Jamestown is from National Geographic. It has interactive games that let the children learn a history lesson through performing the game (what is more accurate, a riffle or a bow and arrow?) and my children watched/played these games so much that by the time we were hearing lectures in person they already knew the answers. They must have watched and played these games for days before we left... they were particularly fascinated by the Pocahontas story.
We also watched some of the great videos Colonial Williamsburg has put out on what life was like then - including (my girls' favorite) what clothing was like that.
After a week of intense study we were excited and ready to get into the car, travel through both the piedmont and tidewater regions (with our maps so we could note how the land changed as we drove) and head to Williamsburg.