Grades 5-8

E/MS Unit II: Building a New Society: Life in Colonial Massachusetts


The English men and women who came to Massachusetts in the seventeenth century were seeking to build communities that looked and worked like the ones they had left behind, with one major exception: their established church would have none of the rituals, hierarchies, and erroneous beliefs that had caused them to reject the Church of England.

Essential Question

How did the English go about building what they considered a good society in colonial Massachusetts?


5.7 Identify some of the major leaders and groups responsible for the founding of the original colonies in North America.

5.9 Explain the reasons that the language, political institutions, and political principles of what became the United States of American were largely shaped by English colonists even though other major European nations also explored the New World.

5.10 On a map of North America, identify the first 13 colonies and describe how regional differences in climate, types of farming, populations, and sources of labor shaped their economies and societies through the 18thcentury.

5.14 Explain the development of colonial governments and describe how these developments contributed to the Revolution.

Unit Lessons:

Lesson A: The First English Settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Organizing Idea:

English colonists established the first settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony along the coast or on rivers with easy access to the sea.

Lesson B: Religious Intolerance in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts

Organizing Idea:

The English men and women who came to Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies sought to practice their religion without interference, not to establish communities where individuals were free to follow their own religious beliefs.

Lesson C: A Young Colony Faces Challenges

Organizing Idea:

The English who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony faced numerous challenges, from clearing land to persuading people back home to join them in New England. These challenges are more easily understood than the ease with which colonists enslaved Indians and Africans and the almost universal belief in the existence of witches.