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A Thanksgiving Feast



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
Social Studies
----U.S. History



Brief Description

Students read about the first Thanksgiving and then write a first person" account of the event.


Students will

  • read about the first Thanksgiving;
  • discuss what food was available to the Pilgrims;
  • draw a picture and write an account about the first Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving, menu, Pilgrims,

Materials Needed

  • Internet access
  • access to the Mayflower History Web site.
  • drawing paper and supplies
  • writing paper and supplies

Lesson Plan

Have students read about The 1621 Thanksgiving and Historic Recipes from the Mayflower History pages. Those pages include a couple of Pilgrims' accountings of the feast, which leads to some perhaps startling omissions. For example, did students know the feast didn't include ham? The Pilgrims had no pigs. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams had yet to be introduced to New England. Indian corn was good for making cornmeal, but there was no corn on the cob yet or corn suitable for popping. Surprised? How about cranberry sauce? Nope! Pumpkin pie? Nope! Many of the things students read might contradict information they've always thought was true.

When theyve finished reading, have students work in small groups to create lists of the new facts theyve learned. Then invite the groups to share their facts to make a class list.

Invite each student to draw a picture of the original Thanksgiving meal. Then ask students to think of all the adjectives they might use to describe that meal and to write those words in large letters around their drawings. Finally, encourage students to imagine that they were guests at the first Thanksgiving and to write their own descriptions of the event.


Assess students based on their participation in class discussion and their drawings and essays about the first Thanksgiving.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
NSS-USH.K-4.4 The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.2 Era 2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)

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