Push and pull factors of the move to Maryland in the 1600’s

The purpose of this lesson is to have students apply what they already know about push and pull factors to a new situation, as well as to have them analyze reasons for why people wanted to leave England and settle in Maryland. In this one lesson, students will put into practice many aspects of the Social Studies curriculum- historical thinking, primary and secondary sources, and push and pull factors. Studying this topic creates a segue from a broad study of the waves of immigration to a more focused study of how the United States was first colonized and started.

The students will look at the first source which represents the push factor for the settlers. They will listen as I model how I would source the document. Then do a close reading of what the document is saying. As this is taking place, the students are completing the first part of their historical investigation chart with me as I model it. Next the students would look at the pull factors of settling in the New World. I would have the students practice sourcing it- looking at the bottom of the text first to do this. Then they will close read it with the teacher created, modern version and complete the pull section of their chart. As a check for understanding, students will complete a comic strip depicting a settler going to the New World, with speech bubbles explaining the push and pull reasons.

Lesson Objective

With effort, students will be able to create a comic strip of the push and pull factors of why people migrated to Maryland, by analyzing primary and secondary documents.



  1. Review the following terms as a class: push factors, pull factors, primary source, and secondary source.
  2. Record student definitions on chart paper.
  3. Introduce the Push and Pull Factors worksheet.
  4. Show students the My Maryland Document A, Part 2. Model and have students identify whether it is primary source or secondary source (Sourcing).
  5. Model Think Aloud (adapted from the 4.2, Sequence 3, Session 1): Is this a primary or secondary source? I first need to look at who wrote this and when. Usually I can find this information at the end of sources, but I see this has a bibliography at the beginning. What information does this bibliography tell us? I see that it was written by Ginn and Company in 1934. Since it was written in 1934 and I know they traveled to the New World in the 1600’s, I know it was not written by someone who was there. This is not a first hand account of events leading up the settling in the New World. But, even though it is a not a first hand account, and it was written in 1934 and it is still around, it must be a reliable secondary source. The person who wrote it must have done adequate and accurate research, so I will still use it as a consideration for the push and pull factors of moving to St. Mary’s.
  6. Students complete the first part of their worksheet explaining why it is a secondary source.
  7. Have students share responses. Use talk moves of agree/disagree between student statements.
  8. Have students do a close reading of the document to determine the push/pull factors and record in the chart.
  9. Have students pair share the push/pull factors and revise/extend their own work.
  10. Show students the Maryland Charter on the overhead as well as giving them a student copy. Explain that it is in Old English, which uses different spelling, and grammar conventions. Have them share any unique things they notice about the charter.
  11. Have them practice Sourcing- identify when it was written and who wrote it.
  12. Have student independently decide whether it is a primary source or secondary source and why on their worksheet. Have them pair share their ideas with a new elbow partner.
  13. Share out to the class their response.
  14. Explain that you have a modern English version of the same Maryland Charter they can use for their close reading. Have them go through this charter in partners to identify the push and pull factors and record in the chart. Discuss as a class at the end
  15. Discuss Contextualization: According to the document, who was reigning at the time? What was the climate of the country? Do the two documents paint a similar or different picture of why people left? Why do you think there is this similarity or difference?


Instruct students that they are to use the two documents that they have closely analyzed to create a comic strip of the push and pull factors for the English settlers to the New World.


For students who are struggling with The Maryland Charter, have them use Lord Baltimore’s Map. It conveys similar information as The Maryland Charter.


“A Relation of Maryland, 1635.” Archives of Maryland Online. http://www.aomol.net/megafile/msa (accessed August 28, 2011).