One of the inquiry projects we did was to examine many primary source documents and answer write a claim about Powhatan Indian culture based on the evidence we interpreted from the documents. After we wrote our claim and found evidence to support it, we wrote our findings up in a letter that was mailed to the APVA (American Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities). Our findings about the Powhatan Indians was a contribution to their ongoing study of the Powhatans and management of the Jamestowne settlement.
We had lots of fun doing our part for the APVA. Some of the ideas our groups discovered about the Powhatan’s were that they were self-sufficient, hard-working, isolated, and peaceful. To do this we would look at each document and discuss it within our small groups. We would then use a graphic organizer to take notes about what we thought the document was and what it meant. After this we wrote a letter as a group and sent it to the APVA with the information we found and they were able to use it to help with their studies. They might use what we learned as input from a different perspective and maybe we found details they overlooked that might be important.
They wrote us a letter back saying “thank you” for the information, and they included a copy of TIME Magazine’s special edition for the 400th anniversary of the settlement at Jamestowne. They also sent each student who contributed a letter a replica six-pence coin that was made to look like coins discovered at Jamestowne from 1602. We would like to thank the APVA for giving us this opportunity; it was very enjoyable and educational!