4-8 Activities

Grades 4-8

Minnesota State Standards: In grades 4 through 8, students are introduced to a disciplinary focus with a "lead discipline” that frames the social studies for that grade level. (The lead discipline for each grade level is described below.) Core concepts from the other three disciplines provide complementary perspectives that promote an integrated understanding of the content. Although there are designated lead and supporting disciplines, the importance of integration should be emphasized: One cannot truly understand history content, for example, without considering the relevant economic, political and geographic factors. 

In grade 4, students focus on the Geography of North America. In grade 5, they study the History of North America up to 1800. From this foundation, the context for learning moves from local to global. Beginning with Minnesota Studies in grade 6, students learn about state history and government and Minnesota’s role within the larger context of the country. This is followed by United States Studies in grade 7, when students study the country’s history and government from 1800 to contemporary times. Social studies in the middle grades culminates in the interdisciplinary learning experiences of Global Studies in grade 8. Students apply spatial and chronological perspectives as they study the geography of the world’s regions and contemporary world history.

Read and Bonny's story can be incorporated into the general narrative of history presented to students in grades four through eight. Read and Bonny's travels between Europe and the Americas put their story in a global context and touch on themes of British colonialism in the 17th and 18th centuries. The theme of piracy inegrates economic themes, as do the financial situations of both Read and Bonny's parents. Students can follow the piratesses' travels through the Caribbean and learn about trade routes, economic issues, and budding imperialism.

The story and the representations it provides of brave and self-possessed women in history are also valuable to this age group. In reading this story, students will gain understandings of Read and Bonny's unique agency and authority during a time period in which women are often considered marginal. The story introduces students to LGBT themes and pushes them to question dominant heterosexual understandings of history while striving towards a realistic and comprehensive interpretation of historical events. Read and Bonny's story integrates these important social and historical themes with a topic (pirates) that is of general interest to younger students, making complex themes more accessible and captivating to learners.

Questions to consider:

  • Anne Bonny and Mary Read wore men's clothes for lots of reasons. List as many as you can think of.
  • Think about Read and Bonny's travels. Why do you think they chose to travel to the Americas from Europe? Why do you think piracy was more common in the Americas than in Europe? (Hint: think about trade and resources).
  • Think about the financial situations of Read and Bonny's parents. How did money affect their decisions?
  • What kinds of relationships did Mary Read and Anne Bonny have with men? For example, what was the nature of Anne's relationship with her father, William McCormack? What about her relationship with Calico Jack? Do you think they were considered equal to the men in their lives?
  • Do you believe the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read is true? Why or why not?