Conduct this session in the classroom.
- Assess students' knowledge of Jamestown and Captain John Smith. If necessary, explain that he was a member of Jamestown's governing council and that Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay region and wrote a history of the early colony. Remind students that Jamestown was the first surviving English colony in America and that it was settled in 1607.
- Discuss with students the differences between the Chesapeake Bay of 1607 and the Bay as it exists today. Ask students to speculate how the Chesapeake region might have looked to the Jamestown settlers as they sailed into the Bay and up the river that would come to be called the Powhatan, and later the James. How might the water have looked? What would the settlers have noticed about the shoreline? Compose a list on the board for use in Session 2.
- Use information from the Background section of the lesson plan to enlighten students about the dense forests, clear water, and abundance of fish and animals present in the Bay region of the early 17th century. Tell students that it was common for those promoting the Virginia colony to compare the land to the Garden of Eden. Discuss the salinity of the water, informing students that scientists believe the Bay was saltier in Smith's day than it is today. (The topic of salinity offers an opportunity to explain that the Bay is an estuary—a place where fresh water and salt water mix. Some fish live only in salt water, others only in fresh water, and still others can survive in both. See Extensions for Students.)