Hands on Activities and Projects

Native Americans

  1. Create an Indian Village diorama
  2. Borrow a history box from the County Historical Society with arrow heads and other Indian artifacts
  3. Create a menu using food the Indian’s shared with the early settlers. Make a meal or snack using the menu. Without the Indians we wouldn’t have popcorn what else wouldn’t we have?
  4. Make wampum belts using colored beads and form a treaty with them.
  5. Make a map showing how the Indians used canoes to get around the county.
  6. Research clothing including footwear worn by the Indians
  7. Invite a native American to the class
  8. Thanksgiving was a Native American fall harvest celebration research what they would have eaten and what they might have done to celebrate. Hold an Indian thanksgiving.


  1. Create a brochure advertising land in the New World.
  2. Investigate types of ships used by the Dutch, Swedes, Finns and English. Based on the size of the ship and the number of people and the supplies they were carrying, how much room would each person have? What would they have brought?
  3. Buy land from the Indians. What would you offer and how much land do you want?
  4. Why were maps and surveys so important? Compare the old maps with today’s county map. Look for names that have been changed.
  5. What is latitude and longitude and why was it so important for ships to be able to measure them?
  6. Build a model of a log cabin.
  7. Plant a garden with crops the colonist would have planted. Invite help from the agricultural Society.
  8. Invite a speaker from a Swedish or colonial reenactment group
  9. Create a mosaic of brickwork utilizing a variety of materials
  10. Make a poster of the trees and animals that were in the county and how they were used. How many are no longer around or are difficult to find?
  11. Create a booklet or poster of the historic homes and other buildings in the school district.
  12. Create a poster of the different kinds of sailing ships.

The Revolution

  1. The British wanted the colonists to buy everything from England and to pay taxes on goods brought in like tea. Why did they colonist think this is unfair? Today the U.S. would put taxes on things made and brought in from other countries, is that fair? What is the purpose of taxes? Have a debate about the need for services and how government should pay for them.
  2. Hold a debate between the rebels and the loyalists. What would it be like if we were still part of England?
  3. Invite a speaker from the Hancock House.
  4. Collect money, food or clothing for a community in need, just as Salem County collected funds to help the citizens in Boston.
  5. Write and produce a play about the Revolution in Salem County and present it to another class.

A New Country and County

  1. Create a mock government based on the beginnings of government in Salem County
  2. Hold a mock trial for someone caught stealing cattle or drinking on Sunday.
  3. Create a town that includes the merchants and craftsmen that would have done business there. Show how people made money either from farming or businesses in towns.
  4. Farmland was being used up and the soil burned out, people moved west. Find Salem cities across the country that might have been settled by people from Salem County. Map the trail out west.
  5. What would it be like to have a one room school house with 8 grades and one teacher? What would it be like not to be able to read or write?
  6. The earliest New Jersey constitution gave rights to blacks and women that were later taken away. What were those rights and how long did it take to get them back?

The Underground Railroad

  1. Write a play about the Underground Railroad.
  2. Create and present reports on local free blacks who overcame a great deal to become a success. (example John Rock or Thomas Marshall)
  3. Create a map that shows the path that the slaves took to freedom.
  4. Look at the County website called the 7 steps to Freedom.

The Civil War

  1. The first United States Constitution developed and signed in Philadelphia contained a number of compromises on the issue of slavery. Hold a debate as members of the constitution committee who were working to get a document that all states would sign.
  2. More Americans died in the civil war than in any other war why and how? (Both sides were American and the changes in weapons, resources, and information.
  3. Prisoners of war: Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River and Andersonville in Georgia. Why did so many die there? What could have prevented it?
  4. Who fought from Salem County? Invite Don Dietrich from Woodstown to speak on the participation of both white and black citizens of Salem County in the war.
  5. Put together a letter to the President as to why Cornelia Hancock should be given the National Medal of Freedom.

New Technology creates many changes in the world, country and Salem County

  1. Compare life in 1776 and 1876. What other changes came about before the end of the century? How do these compare with modern changes like cell phones and computers? Make a chart of the changes. Ask an older person what are the biggest differences they have seen happen.
  2. Create a scenario where one person is bringing in goods from the farm to sell to the storekeeper and also buying supplies for the family for the winter.
  3. Some technology made it so easy to use up resources. What did they use up and how are we working to prevent that from happening again?
  4. Create a poster of different kinds of steam ships.
  5. What kinds of jobs were created from the technology?
  6. What kinds of jobs were lost?
  7. Create a telegraph office and learn Morse code to send messages.