Grade 3‎ > ‎Colonial Clothing‎ > ‎

Stage 3: Learning Activities


Read the Label 

Discover where our clothes are made today and the fabric that is used to make our clothing.

1.        Read the labels on clothing worn by students.  Do as a large group, small group, or paired activity.  Record results on individual papers or class chart.  Look for

  • Where clothing was made.  [On a world map, use a push pin and label to show where in the world each article of clothing was made.]
  • Fabric used to make the clothing.  [List fabrics.  Use dictionary to define fabrics.  Classify – natural fibers vs. man-made.]

2.        Discuss findings.

3.        Explain “If people living in colonial times needed or wanted something, including clothing, they had to raise it or make it themselves… When the FHS docents visit, they will show you how colonial people got the cloth for making their clothes.”

Learning Activities, Assessments & Rethinking Opportunities

Choose any or all of the learning activities # 1-5




Flax, seed pod, ret/retted/retting, fibers, tow, thread, line, linseed oil, weave, loom

Wool, spinning wheel, fleece, carding, spinning, fibers, yarn, knit, weave, loom

  • Students use a Venn diagram to record Colonial Clothing words.  Flax or wool?  What words could apply to both flax and wool?  See “Colonial Clothing Vocabulary” at end of unit.
  • Students classify Colonial Clothing words into parts of speech: nouns, verbs, and adjectives.




















Massachusetts Our Home      

Artifacts Tell a Story p. 7 and Hunt for Artifacts  p. 13

This activity can be used as an activator or summarizer.

Show students the slides of the colonial clothing artifacts before the docents visit your classroom or as a follow-up to the docents’ visit.  You could

·         Show slides to the whole class.  Ask the following questions:

1.        From what material(s) was this artifact made?

2.        Describe how it looks.  What color is it?  Is it smooth or rough? 
           Does it have any parts that move?

3.        Who might have used it?

4.        Where might it have been used?

5.        In what season might it have been used?

6.        What is its name?

7.        What does it tell us about the life and time of the people who used it? 

8.        During what time did these people live?  (century)

9.        Is there anything we use today that is like this?

·         Have students view slides in pairs/small groups.  Use the computer lab, setting up a different slide at each computer.  Students rotate through stations, answering the questions or completing “Artifacts Tell a Story” at end of unit.

·         Discuss.  Reveal the true function of artifacts or, if used as a pre-visit activity, keep the children guessing until the docents’ demonstration!


 Steps in a Process

·         After a visit from the FHS docents, review the steps needed to make a woolen article of clothing or linen cloth.

·         Assign one step to each student/group to illustrate, label, or explain with a sentence or paragraph. 

·         When all illustrations are completed, lead students in sequencing the steps.  Number the back of each illustration in proper sequence.

·         Display Illustrations or use the labeled pictures in a center, challenging students to arrange pictures in the correct order.

Alternative product: Power Point Slide Show, PodCast


Artifacts Tell a hiSTORY  

Using pictures or actual objects, students complete the chart “Artifacts Tell a hiSTORY” at end of unit.


Study a Historic Painting  on p. 104 in Massachusetts Our Home   

Expand on this activity by showing students paintings from the Photo Library.  Have students describe details including clothing and the type of fabric used to make the clothing.