These lesson plans help students develop an understanding of historical events from different perspectives while they practice reading comprehension, creative writing, sequencing, and research skills.
- Use technology tools to access, explore, and synthesize information about Pilgrims, Plimoth colony, and Wampanoags
- Develop an understanding of the Colonial and Wampanoag cultures of the early 1600s
- Compare and contrast lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags
- Interpret information from timelines
- Read for detail
- Participate in active writing activities
- Demonstrate comprehension through experiential response
- Reflect on what has been learned after reading by formulating ideas, opinions, and personal responses
- The First Thanksgiving online activity
- Daily Life
- Daily Life
- Pilgrim and Wampanoag interviews from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection
- Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
- First Thanksgiving Questions for Grades 3–5 printable
- Venn Diagram printable
- Basic art supplies (paper, glue, crayons, markers, etc.) will be needed for several activities
- First Thanksgiving Answer Key for Grades 3–5 printable
- Grading Rubric for Grades 3–5 printable
- Depending on the grade level and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction.
- If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a driver who navigates the activity, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc.
- If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer(s), reading printed background information, holding smaller group discussions, etc.
- Make copies of the First Thanksgiving Questions for Grades 3–5 printable and the Venn Diagram printable for each student.
- Optional: You may want to print out copies of the Pilgrim interviews and Native American perspectives from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection for individual reading.
- Optional: You may also want to create a special display of thematic books in your classroom library. Check out our Colonial America and Native Americans Book List for suggested print materials. Include room for the projects that your students will create through the lesson.
Part I: Return to the Graffiti Wall
Step 1: Have one student from each Graffiti Wall group established during the Voyage on the Mayflower lesson return to their graffiti wall with a marker. Ask the class to brainstorm, together, new words and phrases to add based on what they learned during the first lesson. Students at the graffiti walls should record the shared responses onto their group's graffiti walls.
Part II: Lifestyle Reporters
Step 2: Invite students to be lifestyle reporters on assignment in the Plimoth colony. Direct students to Daily Life: A First Thanksgiving Activity. Have them view and take notes on the daily lifestyles of the Pilgrims in the Compare and Contrast sections of Daily Life and the Pilgrim timeline.
Step 3: Divide the class into small groups and assign one of the Pilgrim interviews or Native American perspectives from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection to each group. Provide time for students to read their interviews and take notes.
Note: If computers aren't available for students to share, pass out printed out copies of the interviews.
Step 4: Allow additional time for students to learn more about different aspects of the Pilgrim and Wampanoag lifestyles by searching additional online resources as well as the books in your classroom or school library.
Step 5: Have students share what they learned about daily life in Plimoth colony. Discuss the similarities and differences in the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag.
Step 6: Pass out the Venn Diagram graphic organizers. Ask students to label their diagram with one of the Daily Life categories — such as housing, clothes, or food — and then organize the information gathered for that category on the diagram.
Step 7: Have students use the information on their Venn Diagrams to write a news article comparing the lifestyles of Pilgrims and Wampanoag in their selected category.
Part III: Wampanoag Ways
Step 8: Tell students that the Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims and taught them ways to survive in the New World. Give students copies of the Native American Perspectives from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Scripts. Have them read the interview to discover how the Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims.
Step 9: Invite students to explore additional online resources as well as the books in your classroom or school library to learn more about the Wampanoags.
Step 10: Discuss with students what they learned about the ways in which the Wampanoag were helpful to the Pilgrims. Talk about how, without this help, the Pilgrims might have never survived that first winter.
Step 11: To help students understand how important this help was to the Pilgrims, ask them to imagine they are Pilgrims. Have them create a two-column chart. In the left column, ask them to list the things they needed to learn in order to survive in the New World. On the right of each item on their list, have students fill in things that the Wampanoag did to help meet that need.
Step 12: When completed, have students use the information on their charts to give first-person presentations about how they were helped by the Wampanoag.
Step 13: Have students complete the Wampanoag Ways Multiple Choice and Short Answer sections of the First Thanksgiving Questions for Grades 3–5 worksheet.
During the Pilgrims' first year in America, the Wampanoag were very helpful to the Pilgrims.
In the sentence above, helpful probably means:
How did the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag communicate with one another?
A. Through sign language and beating on drums.
B. The Pilgrims learned the dialect of Algonquin that the Wampanoag spoke.
C. Squanto acted as an interpreter between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag.
D. They both learned from fishermen.
A statement that best shows the differences between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag is:
A. "The Wampanoag had no such weapons and were deathly afraid of the white man’s musket."
B. "When the Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims bring in their first crop, there was a great feast during that harvest time."
C. "At first the Pilgrims were friendly with the Wampanoag, because they helped them learn the environment and how to survive on the land."
D. "The Wampanoag were here thousands of years before the Pilgrims arrived in Plimoth."
Select all that apply.
At one point in the interview, Fast Turtle says, "Life was good before the English came."
This statement most likely refers to the idea that Wampanoag:
A. Were living alone before the English came.
B. Had to give up their lands and religion.
C. Were afraid of the Pilgrims.
D. Didn’t have as much food.
E. Came down with diseases from the Pilgrims.
F. Were forced to learn English.
Explain how the Wampanoag's feelings toward the Pilgrims changed from when the Pilgrims first landed to after the Thanksgiving feast. Use at least two details from the interview with Fast Turtle to support your answer.
- Tell students that the average Pilgrim home was about 800 square feet — about the size of a small apartment. Help students mark off an outdoor area of this size. Discuss with them how they would arrange the furnishings in a home about this size to accommodate two adults and four children. Invite them to draw and share their floor plans with the class.
- Since the establishment of Plimoth colony, development has spread across the country. Ask students to locate Plymouth, Massachusetts, and their own hometown on a large map of the United States. Have them calculate the distance between the two points. Then instruct them to find other locations on the map — such as state capitals — and calculate the distance between the specified location and Plymouth. Have students compare the distances to determine which places are the least and greatest distance from Plymouth.
Common Core State Standards
Return to the Graffiti Wall
Lifestyle Reporters: Venn Diagram Exercise
Lifestyle Reporters: News Article