With this set of Common Core-aligned lesson plans and The First Thanksgiving online activity, your students will explore the relationship between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag, including their experiences, actions, and decisions relating to the settlement of Plimoth colony.
- Use technology tools to access, explore, and synthesize information on Pilgrims, Plimoth colony, and the Wampanoags
- Develop an understanding of the Pilgrims' motives in establishing a settlement in the New World
- 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 and create timelines
- Understand and identify cultural differences between colonial times and the present
- Read for detail
- Reflect on what has been learned after reading by formulating ideas, opinions, and personal responses
- Of Plymouth Plantation Excerpts printable
- Of Plymouth Plantation Answer Key printable
- "Life in Plimoth" and "Native American Perspectives" interviews from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection
- Venn Diagram printable
- The First Thanksgiving online activity
- Daily Life
- Writing paper
- Grading Rubric for Grades 6–8 printable
- Optional: Nonfiction books for print research
- 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.
- 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 activity.
- Make class sets of the Venn Diagram printable.
- Students should have a copy of the Of Plymouth Plantation Excerpts printable from the Voyage on the Mayflower lesson. If they don't, make a class set. Also print a copy of the Of Plymouth Plantation Answer Key printable for your own use.
- Optional: You may want to print out copies of the "Life in Plimoth" and
"Native American Perspectives" interviews from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection for individual reading.
Part I: Of Plymouth Plantation Close Read
Step 1: Have students read excerpts from William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation that have to do with the Pilgrims landing and settling at Plymouth Plantation, including Arriving Safely at Cape Cod; The Pilgrims’ Exploring Party Lands at Plymouth; Meeting Squanto, the Native American Who Spoke English; and The Winter of 1621.
Step 2: Have students answer the text-dependent questions included in the Of Plymouth Plantation Excerpts printable. Check students' understanding and reading comprehension using the Of Plymouth Plantation Answer Key printable.
Part II: Lifestyle Comparisons
Step 3: Divide students into small groups and provide each group with two Pilgrim Interviews and the text of Life as a Wampanoag from the First Thanksgiving Reader's Theater Ideas collection. Have the groups read the texts closely.
Step 4: Have students use the Venn Diagram printable to organize the similarities and differences in the way the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag lived.
Step 5: Have the groups create visuals that represent their work on the Venn Diagrams.
Part III: Voyage to the Future
Step 6: Tell students they will imagine being teenage Pilgrims or Wampanoag who have taken a voyage to the future. As they explore The First Thanksgiving: Daily Life online activity, read the "Life in Plimoth" and "Native American Perspectives" interviews, and engage with other resources about the lifestyles of Plimoth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe, have students create a list of questions that they — as Pilgrim or Wampanoag teenagers — would like to ask a 21st century teenager. Encourage them to include questions about homes, fashion, school, responsibilities and chores, communication, transportation, and entertainment.
Step 7: After students have completed sufficient research, pair up students, asking one student to take the role of a Pilgrim or Wampanoag and the other student being himself or herself — a modern-day teenager. Have the Pilgrim and Wampanoag students use their list of questions to interview their modern-day partners and take notes on the responses.
Step 8: When the first round of interviews are completed, ask students to switch roles and then switch partners, making sure each Pilgrim and Wampanoag is paired with a modern-day teenager who has not yet been interviewed.
Step 9: After the interviews, have students prepare a presentation — from their Pilgrim or Wampanoag perspectives — about what the future holds for their community.
- Have students explore your class library or the books you gather for the unit and additional resources to learn more about Plimoth colony and a Wampanoag village. Invite pairs of students to use the information they gather to create a side-by-side replica of the two communities from art and craft materials. Ask them to include labels and text cards describing the different elements of each community.
- Tell students that three key Wampanoag figures during the Pilgrim's settlement in Plimoth were Samoset, Tisquantum, and Massasoit. Ask them to research one of these three to learn more about him and the role he played in helping the Pilgrims establish and strengthen their settlement. Have students prepare a creative way to present their findings to the class, such as by performing a first-person narrative, composing a poem or song, or posing as a descendent to tell the Wampanoag's story.
Common Core State Standards
Of Plymouth Plantation Close Read
Voyage to the Future