Conduct this session in the classroom or computer lab.
- Divide the class into groups of 2–3 students, or a size suitable to the number of available computers. Direct students to access the Virtual Jamestown website's "Original Maps" page. Tell students to click the "Large Image" link beneath "John Smith's Map of Virginia, 1608." If possible, share with students the copy of Smith's map in the Library of Virginia's Virginia in Maps (see Resources). Explain that this map is another example of a primary source document. Discuss the map's orientation and features. (See Using Maps in the Project Action Guide.)
- Next, direct students back to the Virtual Jamestown "Original Maps" page, and have them click the "Zoomable Image" link beneath "John Smith's Map of Virginia, 1608 (Modified)." Allow time for the students to learn how to use the map tool.
- Provide students with River and Place Names PDF • Word, which includes a map of the Chesapeake region. Explain to students that the names listed in column A of the "River and Place Names" handout are found on the "Chesapeake Bay Region Today" map. Instruct students to use the "zoomable," modified version of John Smith's map to find the names listed in column B and then match them to the corresponding modern name in column A.
Remind students that on Smith's map, Virginia encompasses the entire Chesapeake region, including what is now Maryland. Also tell students that some of the names on the "River and Place Names" handout do not correspond exactly: a modern river name, like Nansemond for example, may correspond not with Smith's name for that river, but instead with a place or tribe living close by that river.
For teachers of advanced students:
Provide students with a modern map of the Chesapeake Bay region (from an atlas or another source) and the list from column B of the "River and Place Names" handout. Instruct students to use the "zoomable," modified version of John Smith's map to locate the rivers and places in the list you provided. Instead of completing the "River and Place Names" matching exercise, have students mark the modern map with markers or tags to indicate Smith's name for each river and place.
- When students have finished, discuss the modern names of rivers and places. Which have the same name, or similar names, on both maps?
- Discuss the benefits of maps to those who are studying history. Discuss the value of historic maps in providing a more accurate perspective of the time period being studied.