William Bradford and Plymouth Colony


William Bradford was a significant figure in American History. This lesson teaches students about his leadership of the Plymouth Colony. It describes the journey of the people on the Mayflower across the Atlantic ocean. It also points out the political influence of the Mayflower Compact on future founders of the country.

Students will learn about the governor’s life and the history of the Separatist congregation from England. In addition, they will learn how to identify facts and myths. The lesson introduces primary sources and how they are more likely to provide accurate information about a particular topic. Furthermore, students will learn how to cite the sources they use for their research.

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What our William Bradford and Plymouth Colony lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: William Bradford and Plymouth Colony teaches students who William Bradford was. Students will specifically learn about the characteristics of his leadership style. Additionally, you will explain why he is significant to Plymouth Colony and its founding. By the end, students will recognize William Bradford as a great American leader.

One of the subjects you will talk about is the Mayflower Compact and its political influence. But apart from the facts, students will also examine the myths about Plymouth Plantation. They will learn that sometimes the things they learn in history may not be accurate. Students will have to research some of the questions the lesson presents to find the facts. They will also have to determine whether or not their sources are primary sources.

The lesson shares a brief history of William Bradford’s life. It describes how his parents died when he was young. As a result, he was raised by relatives. He grew to be a respected leader and helped the congregation pursue freedom in the New World.

William Bradford and Plymouth Colony discusses some events of people’s journey on the Mayflower. The ship was blown off course due to violent weather and anchored off the shore of Cape Cod. It did not, in fact, immediately land at Plymouth Rock. These are some of the facts students will learn throughout the lesson.


The activity will test students’ ability to research facts and cite their sources. There are four statements about this time in history. Students will decide whether or not they are fact or myth after their research. If they do discover a statement is not true, they have to correct the errors.


The practice will requires some critical thinking. Students will read a passage from William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation. Then they will explain what they believe William Bradford was trying to say.

After that, there are seven sources of different types. Students will have to determine whether the source is a primary source or not. If it is, they will mark “P” next to the source.


Similar to the activity, students will have to do some research for their homework assignment. There are five questions about the Mayflower Compact. The instructions list a specific website for students to use to find their answers.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Biography, Social Studies

State Educational Standards

NCSS.D2.HIS.4.6-8, NCSS.D2.HIS.3.6-8, NSSS.D2.HIS.14.3-5, LB.ELA.LITERACY. RI.3-6.10

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.