Lesson Plan

The First Thanksgiving

Introduction to the Pilgrim and Wampanoag cultures of the early 1600's.
Angela S.
Classroom teacher
Martha Elementary School
Barboursville, WV
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My Grades 2
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will...

Develop an understanding of why Pilgrims moved to the New World
Develop an understanding of the colonial and Wampanoag cultures of the early 1600's
Use technology to compare and contrast lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags 

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Use the Journey on the Mayflower section of the website to introduce students to the reasons for the Mayflower voyage and to the conditions the pilgrims faced on their journey. 

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Reading

Over a couple days, have small groups read aloud both versions of the text found here: http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=37815

Review use of a Venn diagram and have students create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two different genres of the same information (play and story).

3 Guided Practice

Use the Daily Life section of this website (over a couple days) to discuss the lifestyles and cultures of both the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. Provide a Venn diagram (can be found in PDF format on this website under Teachers K-2 section) and work together to complete them as you discuss the daily life of each group and compare/contrast them.

4 Independent Practice

Prior to this activity, students will need to know how to use the Venn Diagram app independently, so if you have not used it with your class before, it will require some direct instruction and practice before assigning it as independent work. Once they are comfortable with the app, have them create a Venn Diagram using the information they used on the group Venn Diagram comparing the lifestyles and cultures of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Other — Choice Activity for Differentiation

Read aloud the letter provided on the site under "Letters from the New World" and then "Letter from a Pilgrim: A Message from the Mayflower." Have students choose an activity to do that will extend their learning.


  • Imagine that you are on the Mayflower. Write a diary entry about what your voyage is like. Draw a picture to illustrate your experiences.
  • Imagine that you live in the early 1600's. If you are a pilgrim child, write a letter to a Wampanoag child explaining about your own culture. If you are a Wampanoag child, write a letter to a pilgrim child explaining your culture.
  • Use http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/index.htm to explore stories about other groups of people who have immigrated to the United States.
  • Create a song, skit, or presentation about what you've learned about the pilgrims and Wampanoags.