Lesson Plans Jefferson, Martha


Jefferson, Martha
Benjamin Franklin: An Inquiring Mind
The 18th century, during which Martha Jefferson lived, was a time of great discoveries and inventions.  One of the most “inventive” inventors was Benjamin Franklin, who was probably an acquaintance of Martha's, as well as a close colleague of Thomas Jefferson in framing the American Revolution, the Constitution, and then the early years of the United States.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Jefferson, Martha
Learning a Trade in 18th Century Virginia
Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson was born in 1748 in Charles City County, Virginia, not far from Williamsburg.  Although her father was an attorney and a landowner, she was part of the gentry class, and was raised—as were many girls of her social class—to have the skills needed by a “lady of quality.”  Most children, however, were raised to follow a trade—to be able to make goods that were needed by members of the community on a daily basis.  Thus, even young children were put to work alongside tradesmen and tradeswomen, who taught them the skills of the trade.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Jefferson, Martha
18th Century Games for Children
Colonial children didn’t have a great deal of time for games because there was always a lot of work to do and children were very much a part of the family economy.  Even relatively well-off children like Martha Wayles (who grew up to marry Thomas Jefferson), had lessons to learn and many tasks to perform around the house.  When Martha and her friends did have time to play, however, they played as hard as any children do, today. And they even played some of the same games!
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

Jefferson, Martha
Early Colonial Schools: Some Moravian Examples
Among the many protestant church groups to come to the American colonies during Martha Jefferson’s life, the Moravians were perhaps the most interested in formal education of children—everywhere they went, they built both churches and schools.  Although Martha Jefferson was educated in a manner traditional to the southern plantation family, the Moravians did have a major presence in the south, particularly in North Carolina. 
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Jefferson, Martha
"We, the People. . .": Lafayette's Study of the American Constitution
In 1777, when Martha Jefferson was living at Monticello in Virginia, a 20-year-old French nobleman, the Marquis de Lafayette (whose real name was Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier), purchased a ship and sailed to America to offer his services to George Washington and the American struggle for independence.  Lafayette was profoundly interested in the cause for liberty, and was involved in that same struggle in France.  He was especially interested in how the Americans would lay the political and legal foundation for independence.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Jefferson, Martha
What Day Is It, Really? The Julian and Gregorian Calendars
On Wednesday, September 2, 1752, Martha Wayles (and all British and colonial subjects) went to sleep as usual, and woke up 12 days later, on Thursday, September 14, 1752.  She was probably not surprised, because the British Calendar Act of 1751 had decreed this change the year before, and the citizens were prepared.  But one cannot help but think they must have thought it odd!
Skill: Middle School     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Jefferson, Martha
"We Hold These Truths...": Writing the Declaration of Independence
Certainly one of the most important events in the life of Martha Jefferson and all other colonists was the writing of the Declaration of Independence, which officially separated the Colonies from Great Britain.   Although several members of the Continental Congress were  on the committee to write the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson actually did the initial writing.   There is a popular story that says that during the time the Declaration was being written, Jefferson was so lonely for his wife that John Adams sent for her to come to Philadelphia from Virginia to keep him company!
Skill: Middle School     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Jefferson, Martha
Home Schooling in the Colonies
Like most children of her class in the 18th century colonial south, Martha Wayles (Jefferson) didn’t go to school, but was, rather, “home schooled” by governesses, tutors, and members of the family.  Furthermore, she was raised with only the knowledge and skills that were thought necessary for her future as the wife of a plantation owner—household management, entertaining, music, needlework, and some accounting skills.
Skill: Middle School     Category: First Ladies' Lives

Jefferson, Martha
The Founding of the Virginia Colony
Martha Jefferson was born, grew up, and lived most of her life in the colony (and then the state) of Virginia.  It was the home of a number of founding fathers and mothers, some of them rebels like Patrick Henry and some of them slave owners, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  For a time, early in colonial history, nearly all the eastern shoreline of what became the United States was Virginia.  For all these reasons, it is a good idea to look at its founding and its growth.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Jefferson, Martha
Jefferson's Legacy: A National Library
An important  effort undertaken by the founding generation of Americans was the development of major cultural institutions; one of these was (and is) the Library of Congress, which was established by Congress in 1800 as a reference library for Congress only.  The first appropriations for the purchase of books were approved by President John Adams, and the first law defining the role and functions of the new Library were approved by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802, who also gave nearly his entire personal library to the Library of Congress after it was burned by the British in 1814.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Jefferson, Martha
Adventures of Lewis and Clark
In 1803, while Thomas Jefferson was President, the Lewis and Clark expedition set off to explore the Louisiana Territory that Jefferson had recently purchased from France, particularly the Pacific northwest.  All of Washington society was intrigued by this expedition, and Jefferson waited anxiously for news about this vast land that he had added to the United States.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Jefferson, Martha
Is Baseball Really Cricket?
Many sports and games are clearly identified with a particular social class.  However, in the case of cricket in England and baseball in the United States, nothing could be further from the truth!  Each sport is the national pastime of its respective country, enjoyed by all classes, and the two sports are often compared.  But is that “cricket?”  Is baseball “just like cricket?”  The popularity of this sport in England is attested to by the creation of the first and most influential cricket club in the 1760s, during the lifetime of Martha Jefferson.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

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