Colonial Quest Curriculum

Bring history to life for your students with this free, standards-based curriculum that examines early settlement history through the lens of your hometown. This short-focused research project fits into the Social Studies curriculum as part of state and local history or as an opening to a study of Native Americans or Early Settlement. Grades 5-8

The sequence of the Colonial Quest Curriculum is driven by questions:

  • WHO were the first residents here?
  • WHERE did the colonists come from?
  • WHEN and WHY did they come?
  • WHAT did the colonists do to establish this town?

The curriculum’s approach integrates place-based education, primary source exploration, and service learning: students use maps and town charters to track movement and settlement; they find early settlers in old burial grounds; learn more about specific people using proprietor’s records, the census and town histories; and share their learning via a Quest (educational treasure hunt).

Review Individual Lessons Here

1. Abenaki Homeland

Who lived here first, prior to colonization?

Lesson Plan | Rubric | Handout

Complete Lesson Package

2. Old England to New England

When and why did colonists leave England for New England? Where did they settle?

Lesson Plan | Rubric | Handouts

Complete Lesson Package

3. Settling VT and NH

When and how was this region settled?

Lesson Plan | Rubric | Handout

Complete Lesson Package

4. First Settlers

Who were the first people to settle here?

Lesson Plan | Rubric | Handout

Complete Lesson Package

5. Research

What did these people do to form our town?

Lesson Plan | Rubric

Complete Lesson  Package

6. Writing our Quest

How can we share what we’ve learned with others?

Lesson Plan | Rubric | Handouts

Complete Lesson Package

7. Finishing Touches

What do we need to do to complete our Quest?

Lesson Plan | Rubric

Complete Lesson Package

Take Your Class on a Colonial Quest

Claremont Colonial Quest, Claremont, NH
Center of Town Quest, Hartford, VT
Mill Cemetery Quest, Plainfield NH
Prouty Stories, Hanover NH
Hartland Anniversary Quest, Hartland VT
Valley Quest of White River Junction, White River Junction VT

Other Quest Curriculum


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Beth Roy

Food & Farm Manager

Valley Quest, Food & Farm

 802-291-9100 x105

Valley Quest, Food & Farm

— Beth Roy, Food & Farm Manager

Beth leads Vital Communities' Food & Farm team, including its Upper Valley Farm to School programming, and also oversees Valley Quest. Before joining Vital Communities, Beth worked in the environmental and place-based education fields for 17 years in various positions around New England including at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and as the Director of Education at the Nature Museum in Grafton, Vt. She previously served on the boards of the Vermont Science Teacher Association and the Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs, a coalition of dozens of individuals and organizations promoting sustainability and environmental education in Vermont. Beth is a New Hampshire native and lives in Hartland, Vt., with her husband and two children, and serves on the Hartland School Board. When Beth is not working you will find her exploring the woods around her home with her family or cooking up a new taste test (made of local foods, of course!) for her children.

Sandy Gmur

Valley Quest Coordinator

Valley Quest

 802-291-9100 x118

Valley Quest

— Sandy Gmur, Valley Quest Coordinator

Sandy joined Vital Communities in Fall 2019 to coordinate Valley Quest. Sandy moved back to the East Coast after 32 years in Santa Cruz, CA, and is thrilled to be involved with an organization so interconnected with the issues and services that make the Upper Valley region a vibrant, collaborative, and future-thinking community. Sandy has a BA in Anthropology from Vassar College and worked for several years in Somalia and Greece. She later worked in school administration and then as a Senior Program Associate for the nonprofit Life Lab. Sandy is a founding member of a cohousing community in Santa Cruz and now lives at Cobb Hill Cohousing in Hartland. She is an Executive Committee member of the Sierra Club Upper Valley and volunteers with the Connecticut River Conservancy. Her nurture away from work comes from taking long walks, skiing, cooking, gardening, bread baking, and enjoying time with friends and family.