Lesson Plan

England comes to America- British Colonization of Roanoke Island

A British ship on its way to America
British ship sailing from England to America


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Grade Level:
Eighth Grade
History, Social Studies
45 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
National Standard for History:
Era 2: Standard 1
North Carolina State Standards
8.H.1.1, 8.H.1.2, 8.H.3.1, 8.G.1.1, 8.E.1.1
colonization, Roanoke Island, roanoke, Fort Raleigh


Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England would finally gain an interest in the New World in an attempt to keep up with Spain and other European powers who had long been exploring and settling the area. This lesson explains why the 1580s were set up for this exploration, and why Roanoke Island was the final destination.


  • Understand the causes and effects of Elizabethan Expansion in to the New World 
  • Explain how the first attempt at English Colonization contributed to the eventual development of North Carolina 
  • Explain how Roanoke Island played a key role in this expansion  
  • Describe why 1580's Europe was ready for a new explorations 
  • Explain how location and place have presented opportunities for the movement of people North Carolina   


Lesson Plan (found in pdf. format in upper right part of page)
Maps illustrating the New World pre- and post-Elizabethan Expansion (found in lesson plan)


Students will be able to:

  1. Describe 2 reasons why England chose the 1580s for its first try at setting up a new colony at Roanoke
  2. Describe 2 reasons why America attracted European countries to attempt to colonize it
  3. Describe 3 reason why Roanoke was the first place England set up a new colony

Park Connections

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is the location of the 1st settlement attempt by England in the United States.

Last updated: April 14, 2015