Mystery surrounds one of the earliest English colonies. Colonists came to Roanoke Island in Chesapeake Bay in the late sixteenth century, but no evidence of the colony remained a mere three years after its founding.
In this activity, students will research the “Lost Colony of Roanoke” and create a timeline that depicts the events between its founding and eventual disappearance. From John White’s initial landing, to the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, students will have a variety of exciting events to represent this historical mystery. Students will not have a definitive answer as to “What happened to Roanoke?” for the final event of their timeline; students should create a historical hypothesis of what they think is the most likely result of the Roanoke colonists.
For an alternative to the timeline layout, have students create a timeline poster to incorporate into a presentation or gallery walk. You can add more than one template to this assignment to give students lots of options!
Extended Activity: Roanoke Crime Scene Investigation
For this extended activity, students should present their timelines to the class and explain what they believe happened to the lost colonists of Roanoke. Following all the presentations, students should vote on what they believe is the most credible hypothesis. A student can be selected to be the judge or police chief to tally the votes and read the majority decision of the class.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a timeline that illustrates the major events of the Roanoke colony.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
Events and Dates
The events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. The dates provided are correct.
Most of the events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. Most of the dates provided are correct.
Some of the events chosen for the timeline are significant. There may be missing events, or events that are irrelevant. Too many dates may be incorrect.
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are accurate and provide insight into the significance of the events.
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are mostly accurate and attempt to provide insight into the significance of the events.
There are several glaring inaccuracies in the explanations or descriptions of the events. There may be little or no insight int the significance of the events, or the information provided may be too limited or missing.
There are 0-2 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 3-4 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 5 or more mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.