The 13 Colonies HyperStudio Presentation

Activity Overview: 

Students will learn the history of the original 13 colonies of the United States. The teacher breaks the students into groups and assigns them a colony. Students research their colony, synthesize their data, and create a HyperStudio presentation from the information that they have gathered.

This is to help students learn the history of the original 13 Colonies of the 
United States. 

The students will research their colony, synthesize the data, and put their 
information in a HyperStudio Presentation

(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the  following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.)




Curriculum Standards from National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Indicators from
Demonstrate input/output devices by using word processing. Do an Internet search on the colony.

English Language Arts: 4, 5, 6, 8, 12

Social Studies:  III, middle grades

Grades 3-5: 1
Use technology in both research and presentation. Construct a HyperStudio presentation to show evidence that students learned key aspects of the history of the colony.

English Language Arts: 7, 8, 11, 12

Information Literacy: 3, 4, 6

Social Studies: II, III, middle grades

Grades 3-5: 1, 2, 3, 9
Discuss and use proper netiquette.  Show responsible use of information and technology.

English Language Arts: 4, 5, 7, 8

Information Literacy: 1, 3, 9

Social Studies: III, middle grades

Grades 3-5: 3

Computer with sound capabilities
Digital camera

HyperStudio. Available:
Electronic Encyclopedia

Web sites:
The Thirteen Colonies. 
Ask Jeeves. Available:
Yahooligans. Available:

Internet Access


13 Colonies HyperStudio Presentation Rubric


Just Beginning

Keep Trying!

Good Job!



Background distracts from the colony.

Background is not attractive and/or is not appropriate for the colony. 

Background is imported from clip art and is  appropriate for the colony.  

Background is original and is appropriate to  the colony.  


Buttons are not labeled or are hard to find and use: transitions are distracting. 

Buttons are not correctly labeled and can be confusing  for the user: transitions are not appropriate 

Buttons with appropriate labels or icons  make it easy for the user to navigate: transitions are appropriate.  

Clever or creatively designed buttons and transitions enhance navigation.  


Graphics are  inappropriate, distract, or not included. Audio quality is hard to understand.

Graphics aren't  appropriate or may distract.  Audio quality may be hard to understand.  

Appropriate graphics included. Audio quality is easy to understand. 

Appropriate  graphics and  animation are included. Audio quality is high  and easily understood.  


Information is not accurate and incomplete.

Information is accurate, but not complete. 

Information is accurate and complete. 

Information is accurate, complete and presented in a unique or creative way.  


 Includes 10 or more grammatical spelling, and punctuation errors.

Includes 5-9  grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. 

Included 1-4  grammatical spelling, and punctuation errors.  

Grammar, spelling punctuation, and capitalization are correct.  


Student is repeatedly off task and is willing to settle for less than personal best.

Student is sometimes off task and is willing to settle for less than personal best.

Student uses class time wisely while working toward personal best. 

Student used class time wisely and used outside time if necessary. Personal best.  

Joyce Challans   Marquette Elementary School, Marquette, KS

Fifth graders in Kansas study American History, so this fits right into the curriculum.  The students were reenacting this activity.  I introduced the project like I did in the beginning.  I had already broken them into pairs and given them their colonies.  Most of them had already done the research necessary for their colonies.  I had planned 1-2 weeks, but we have far exceeded that.  Next year, though, I still plan to allow only 3 weeks.

I had not taught this activity before.  The great "ah ha" is that after I introduced the basics of HyperStudio, the students found all the fun details. They think it is great to teach me things.

Technology Resources
I had seen a HyperStudio presentation last summer and thought it was cool.  I tried to think how I could use it in my classroom.  We did have to buy 2 HyperStudio programs, though.  This was a new way of doing an old project. They had previously been completed using reports.

School Background Information:
Marquette, Kansas, is a small rural town in the middle of Kansas.  It has a population of a little less that 600 people.  It is just south of the intersection of Interstates 135 &70. The majority of the parents are either farmers or are employed by manufacturing companies.
Marquette's enrollment for the year 2001-2002 is 124 students in a K-8 building. After 8th grade they go to Smoky Valley High School (SVHS) in Lindsborg, Kansas. SVHS has an enrollment of about 300 students. Lindsborg also has a grade school and middle school. That brings the district’s enrollment up to just a little over 1,000 students. Living in this part of Kansas all the students are Caucasian and English is their native language. 

Teaching Strategy:
This strategy worked best with the students I had. Some students, like some people, prefer to work on their own. Some students can't or won't work with other students. Then there is the majority of the class who like to work together on projects.

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity
(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.)

Democracy: They had to make many decisions while doing this project.

Information Processing: The student needs to decide where to find the information they desire.  Then, they have to Search for that information either through traditional methods or the computer.  No matter where the information is found, they need to process the information.  Next they need to communicate it into a HyperStudio presentation.  Finally, they need to do a self-evaluation of their work and work habits.

Content Standards: The students use both Language Arts and Social Studies skills.  The Language Arts skills are reading the information, synthesizing it, and communicating it in an interesting presentation.  The Social Studies skills are understanding the past and how it relates to us today.

Student Characteristics:
Some students prefer to work by themselves while others feel more comfortable in groups.  Some students you just don't put together in a group.  You could let them decide if they want to work alone or in a group and let them choose their group.  I decided I would assign the colony and whether or not they were in a group or alone.  The students I had were much better with hands on, so I just showed them generally what I wanted and then went around to answer the more specific questions. When they completed their portion, they helped teach other students. Therefore, the pace was not quite as fast as I would have liked.

How the Activity Has Evolved Over Time:
This project took a lot longer to complete than I thought it would.  Next year, since I know what I'm doing, it will take less time.

(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology