Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Thanksgiving, and supports the standard of investigating the relationship and interactions of Native peoples and early European settlers. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students: 

  • How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • What is the story of Thanksgiving? How did this holiday get its start? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the four Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a documentary highlighting the different perspectives of both the settlers and the Wampanoag.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map analyzing the interactions between the Wampanoag and the settlers, and identifying the effects on each group. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a sorting game challenging players to distinguish between Thanksgiving facts and myths. 

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about Thanksgiving. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • Why might people create national myths? How could they become problematic?
  • How do national holidays shape an American identity?  Do you think all Americans feel included in that identity? Why or why not? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Thanksgiving Challenge

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Continue exploring the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday by analyzing a Primary Source.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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