Virtual Field Trip: The Fort at No. 4
The Fort at No. 4 was once the northernmost British fort in New England. It served as a key jumping off point for British and colonial troops during the wars with France and its Native American allies in the late colonial period, including the French and Indian War. It was also a meeting place for colonial and Abenaki peoples, where cultures met and merged.
This virtual field trip visits the reconstructed Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown.
A graphic organizer helps students record what they learn from the video, which, when combined with the activity, tackles the question: What's the best place to build a fort?
The video is 18 minutes.
Before You Take Your Virtual Field Trip . . .
Define the word “frontier.”
Discuss this important term with students. How have they heard it used before? What images does the word create in their minds? Be sure all students understand that a “frontier” is the edge of a known and explored place; what lies beyond is unfamiliar and yet to be explored.
Discuss the big question
Ask students: “What’s the best place to build a fort?” The discussion should draw from what they already know about the purpose, design, and location of forts. They may even have insights based on their own experience building a fort indoors or outside. Tell students they’ll think more about that question as they learn about a real fort that was used in New Hampshire over 250 years ago.
During Your Virtual Field Trip . . .
Organize facts and ideas
An optional graphic organizer is provided to help students identify and expand upon the three key ideas addressed during the trip. As they listen and watch, students can check off the key idea as they hear it mentioned. The chart below provides space for students to note supporting facts that relate to each idea. This graphic organizer could be used as part of a preview to the trip. It also works well as a review exercise after the trip and can be completed as a whole group or independently.
This graphic organizer helps students organize the information they learn in the virtual field trip.
Visit a Colonial Fort on the NH Frontier
The Fort at Number 4 in Charlestown, New Hampshire is a wonderful museum that gives visitors an inside look at life of early New Hampshire colonists and indigenous Abenaki groups. Let’s take a look at what life was like in the 1700s, and answer our big question: how do you decide where to build a fort?
After Your Virtual Field Trip . . .
Advertise the fort
Provide students with a copy of the ad template. Tell them they are representatives of the British government in the year 1740, trying to recruit families to move to the Fort at No. 4. They need to create an advertisement that will run in a colonial New Hampshire newspaper. Their advertisement should highlight the advantages of living out on the frontier of the colony as well as the needs of the fort. What kinds of skills are needed for the fort to operate? What kind of personalities will do well with fort life? What kinds of people will they meet? What benefits will families receive from living at the fort?
. Display and discuss completed advertisements.
Want To Do More?
Go further with these extension activities
Rank the jobs. What work needed to be done to make the Fort at No. 4 a successful frontier outpost? As a whole group, create a list of at least eight jobs done by people who lived at the Fort at No. 4. Then, create short definitions of each job and write them in a place where all students can read them. Have individual students or partners rank the jobs in order of how essential each was to the success of the fort. As a whole group compare and discuss rankings. Draw connections between what makes communities work well in the past and present.
A fort for protection or connection? Like a modern city, the Fort at No. 4 was a place where different languages, customs, clothing, tools, and food were used simultaneously. Why was that possible? What was it about the fort’s location and purpose that made it more than a place of protection? Use information from the Virtual Field Trip, the Fort at No. 4 website, and Google Maps to create a large map (or individual maps) of the fort and surrounding physical features. Label the map with examples of Abenaki and English cultural exchange. By plotting on the map where certain activities happen, students will explore how people can navigate differences in order to meet their needs and how the surrounding natural resources supported that interaction.
The New Hampshire Historical Society thanks the following organizations for assisting in the making of this virtual field trip:
The Fort at No. 4
Elnu Abenaki Tribe