Research Project Topic: NC History

EDTC 6070 - Chris Tuttell

Research Question

What happened to the Lost Colony?

NC Curriculum

4.H.1 Analyze the chronology of key historical events in North Carolina history.


I chose this question because it is a great debate question in 4th grade and gets students hooked on NC history. The mystery of the Lost Colony always intrigues students and gets them engaged in research. It also helps them understand that sometimes the research process creates more questions and a definitive answer isn’t always possible when researching. They will discover the various theories about what happened to the Lost Colony.

Research Model - LOCK

I decided on this model because it would be easy for students to follow and each step is clearly defined.

In our district we use the eWISE model (Wonder, Investigate, Synthesize and Express – the little e is evaluate throughout) – I think the LOCK model is similar to this process and the best fit for elementary.

L - Locate Resources

We used the search engine: Infotopia. Which is a safe search engine for students powered by Google. We used the search term ‘The Lost Colony” to locate 3 websites for our research. We decided on three different sites after discussing how to evaluate sites for valid information.

O - Organize

In order to organize the information we began with a graphic organizer that was found on Teacher Pay Teachers. We used this with the Wonderopolis site and then took additional notes when looking at the other two websites.

Teachers Pay Teachers – Graphic Organizer

Theories we discovered:

  1. Croatoan was carved into one of the trees which some believe meant the settlers moved to Croatoan Island to join the Powhatans for protection and supplies.
  2. Colonists were attacked by native american tribes.
  3. Colonists were possibly attacked by the Spanish who may have traveled from Florida.
  4. The entire colony may have fallen victim to a disease.
  5. The colonists tried to sail back to England and got lost at sea.
  6. The colonists moved 50 miles inland to the forest.

C - Communicate

Students will create Smore posters (like this one) to share the information they found during the research process

K - Knowledge Outcomes

What we found from our research is actually more questions. We discovered 6 theories, all of which could be plausible, and all that have confounded researchers for years. We learned a valuable lesson in research and that is, sometimes the answers are yet be discovered. Maybe one of them will find the definitive answer someday. We also discovered that the LOCK research process helped us stay focused as we located and organized the information and was a great model for elementary students.


Fort RaleighNational historic site North Carolina (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

Grades, U. and Awesome (2013) Wonderopolis activity sheet Trifold. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

The lost colony of Roanoke (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).

What happened to the lost colony? (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2015).