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Teaching Guide

Teaching Puritan Settlement in New England

Let it snow!


We're not going to try to tackle the motivations behind the Puritans' sense of style (buckles, buckles everywhere!) but we can help you elaborate on other aspects of Puritan life, from their religion to the hardships of early American life.

In this guide you will find

  • activities analyzing historical documents like "The Day of Doom" and "The New England Primer." Ah, we love the smell of brimstone in the morning.
  • current articles from the New York Times and Huffington Post exploring the Puritans' legacy.
  • literary resources on The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible.

So buckle your seat belt (and your shoes and your hat) and get your students ready for a wild (by Puritanical standards) ride.

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

In this exercise your students will identify institutions and practices developed by the Puritans that grew to become important parts of American life. Ask them to select and place on a timeline five events or developments that will become part of "the American way."

(Possible answers include: the Mayflower Compact, 1620; Private property rights are established, 1627; Harvard is founded, 1636; the first book is printed, 1640; the basic rights of citizens are drawn up, 1641; law is passed requiring that town establish schools, 1647)

Instructions for Your Students

Several quintessentially American practices and values are developed in the Puritan colonies. Select and place on a timeline five events or developments that will become part of "the American way."

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Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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