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Investigating the First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving: Fact or Fiction
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8

This engaging site from the official Plimoth Plantation Web site answers such questions about the First Thanksgiving as “What really happened?” “What did they eat?” “Who was there?” and helps children learn to separate the historical facts from the fiction associated with the Thanksgiving traditions that Americans have developed.
This interactive site it well designed and easy to navigate. After the Flash introduction, a menu is displayed with the main areas of the site. Roll the mouse over the pictures and a summary is displayed. You will need a high-speed connection, the Macromedia Flash Player 6 and the latest version of Web browser.

Students and teachers may be surprised to learn what the harvest celebration of 1621 was really like! Students use the skills that historians use to discover the facts and misconceptions about The First Thanksgiving. Interactive activities help students understand how the Wampanoag lived and gave thanks and virtually tour the Plymouth Colony to learn how the colonists prepared for the celebration. Students can also read an actual letter written by Plymouth colonist Edward Winslow, by using the “magic lens” users can translate the text into Modern English. Another section explores how the two cultures differed and the opinions that they held toward each other and the events. Finally, students can choose to either create a museum exhibit or write captions for individual pictures to share with others. The Teachers’ Guide includes everything you need to teach the unit including lessons to go with each online activity, graphic organizers, links to primary sources, a text version of each of the activities, bibliography, standards and frequently asked questions. Although the activities were designed for 3rd and 5th grade students they can easily be adapted for other grade levels. A glossary and a visit the expert is provided to enhance understanding.


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