Putting It All Together
The following activities help students better understand the experiences of early settlers and the importance of their settlements.
Activity 1: Living in Frederica
Have the students pretend they are original settlers practicing a particular trade or craft in Frederica. Then have each student write a letter describing the fort and town of Frederica to a friend or family member still in Great Britain. Ask them to include a description of daily life in their first palmetto bower house and then in their permanent house, the hardships and challenges they encountered, and their feelings and emotions during and after their ocean voyage. Have the students close their letters with statements about their familys satisfaction or unhappiness at their venture in the New World and their intention of either returning to Britain or staying in America. Read several of the letters to the class and then hold a general class discussion about what it may have been like to be early settlers in America.
Activity 2: Reconstruction or Preservation?
Divide the students into two groups and have them prepare for a debate on how to use what we know about this early Georgia settlement. Explain that either of two approaches might be taken. The village and fort might be rebuilt to their former appearances, as was done with other historic structures in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, or they might be preserved in their present condition and interpreted as archeological sites. Both approaches would use available archeological and historical research. Ask students what issues need to be considered for this debate. Then encourage their thinking by having them consider: (1) the amount of information that might be available on which to base an accurate, detailed reconstruction; (2) what would be lost if the archeological site was transformed into a reconstruction; (3) the relative costs and the funding of reconstructing buildings versus preserving the towns ruins; and (4) whether visitors can most easily understand what the town was like from a reconstruction or a site with only remains of buildings.
Assign one group the "pro" position and the other the "con" position. Then have them debate the statement: "Fort Frederica National Monument should be maintained in its present state." Have each group choose a spokesperson to present a five-minute argument and a two-minute rebuttal. At the end of the debate, release students from their assigned position and ask them to vote on the
Activity 3: Moving Day
Divide the students into small groups that represent Frederica families who realize that since the fort has been closed, there is no way for them to make a living and they will be forced to move. Have each "family" answer the following questions: (1) Where will they move to? (2) How will they make a living? (3) How difficult will it be to start over again? They may wish to consult a U.S. history textbook to determine the options available at the time.
After the groups have recorded their ideas, have them consider how they would react if a military base, military industry installation, or a major factory that employed a large percentage of the towns population in their community closed, and they found themselves in the same situation as the settlers of Frederica. Have each family answer the same three questions and then develop a list of resources they would have today that were not available to Fredericas population. Have the class discuss each familys option to determine similarities and differences in their solutions to both scenarios.
Activity 4: Planned Communities
Most Europeans who settled in America made some plans for how their community would be laid out and how the new lands would be apportioned among the colonists. Remind students that the New England model provided for a large common with the most prestigious lot bordering the common for the Puritan meeting house. Have them reflect on how Frederica differed from that plan. Then explain that modern planned communities are sometimes built around an artificial lake and may mix businesses with housing areas. Ask students to use the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, or a similar source, to see what they can find out about how some specific planned communities have been laid out. A colonial example of such communities is Savannah, Georgia, also planned by Oglethorpe and his associates. Twentieth-century examples include Reston, Virginia; Greenbelt and Columbia, Maryland; and even more recently, Panama City, Florida. Have students report their findings to the class, and then have each student draw a plat map for what she or he believes would be an ideal community. Have students share their plans and then put a representative sampling on a bulletin board for display.
Now have students research their own community. When and how was it founded? How is it similar to and different from the planned communities they researched? from the town of Frederica? Hold a class discussion on the students findings.