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Scholastic: The First Thanksgiving

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer(s), Internet access, projector, speakers and/or headphones

Activity Description

Use this page on the Scholastic site, which has audio to support its content, to teach students about Pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower. There is a tour of the ship, and descriptions of the daily life of colonists compared to that of the natives (housing, clothes, food, chores, school, and games). The Thanksgiving Feast tab has a Web Quest with an interactive quiz containing questions on the slideshow.


  1. Make sure site is not blocked at your school.
  2. Confirm that necessarily plug-ins are installed before doing some of the games.
  3. Preview the site's resources and multimedia. Decide which parts you will use in class.
  4. Visit the page of lesson plan resources [www]. Also, many sections of the interactives have links to teachers' resources/lesson plan materials.
  5. Prepare a handout - a listening and reading/ viewing guide with questions for students to answer. You may use the lesson materials at the site or create a handout of your own.


  1. As a whole-class activity or individually in a lab setting, students view the site, particularly the sections you have chosen to include in your lesson (Voyage on the Mayflower, Daily Life, and/or The Thanksgiving Feast -- or the Virtual Fieldtrip videos which are 16 - 30 minutes long -- Pilgrim Village, Wampanoag Village, or Plimoth Plantation).
  2. Visit the site and select the item (tab or video) you wish to view. Select the Play button for videos or the speaker icon to hear the text read aloud.
  3. Have students listen/watch and answer the questions you provide them.
  4. Students can be assigned to complete a compare contrast note-taking chart or a writing assignment comparing and contrasting the life then with life now. For lower level students, you can ask students to write a sentence describing each of the differences shown between the daily lives of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.

Teacher Tips

  • The Thanksgiving Web Quest  (on The Feast tab) could be used to open the lesson and find out what students do / do not know about Thanksgiving/colonization of America. There are also free Thanksgiving printables and links to Thanksgiving teaching ideas and activities.
  • For an online "Compare & Contrast" map to use in step 4 above, see this lesson .

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Other possible follow-up activities:

  • Write a menu for Thanksgiving dinner or a recipe for a favorite Thanksgiving dish;
  • Make a timeline, poster, or PowerPoint presentation about the Mayflower voyage, what to be thankful for, the life of colonists, myths vs. facts,;
  • Learn new vocabulary by drawing and labeling the parts of the Mayflower ship.
  • Create a travel itinerary for the Pilgrims as if they were to journey to America today, including a budget, a list of supplies and documentation needed, and tips for newcomers to this country.
  • The colonists may be considered the first immigrants in America. Trace immigration over the years in the United States with this New York Times interactive map  (which goes back to 1880).
  • Send an online Thanksgiving greeting card using a site such as Holidays on the Net .
  • Write an opinion piece about the pros and cons of colonization in America.
  • Write a letter of appreciation or thanks.
  • Use a site such as Harvest Festivals from Around the World  to gather information about harvest festivals in other countries as the basis of writing or presentation assignments.
  • The site's main Teachers Resources  page has numerous items to explore: daily starters and daily ideas, lesson plans and activities for holidays and events, printables, and videos.


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (5.2) Understand historical and geographical information

Basic Communication

  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.