This lesson was developed as part of the West Chester University's Web Quest Project to engage children in a lesson on The First Thanksgiving. What you will be instructing to the class is an investigation of the history of Thanksgiving to expand the children's knowledge on the holiday and how and where it originated. First the children will be creating and filling in a KWL chart describing what they know about the first Thanksgiving, what they want to know, and what they learned from researching the topic. After they have filled in the chart they will be researching more specific things about the people, food, and activities that were involved in the first Thanksgiving. Then the children will be separated into groups of 3 or 4 and research a specific group of people involved in the First Thanksgiving by using the links provided on the page to conduct their research. Then after the children have done their research they will be talking over what information they have collected with their group members then creating a personal journal about what they found. They will use these journals to then re-enact in their groups the first Thanksgiving. To add to their re-enactment they can bring in pictures, food, or props to make their re-enactment more interesting and creative. After they have completed the re-enactment then they will go back to their KWL charts and fill in the section "what I learned" to complete the assignment and they can even share this with their family and friends. There are many different multiple intelligence's involved in this activity so it makes the lesson a lot more appealing to more then one type of learner. Bodily kinesthetic is one intellegence used in this activity because the when the children are re-enacting what they researched they will be moving around the room and usig props to create a visual for the other groups in the class. They learn better by verbally hearing things and seeing images at the same time. Interpersonal Intelligence is another one present in this activity. They work better in groups and they like being leaders or followers in the group discussions and activities involved. This would work great during the discussion on what facts they researched and also during the planning of their re-enactment. Logical mathmatical is also present in this lesson. This intellegence has to do with being a good investigator so it will be good for the research part of the project. In this lesson the children will reach the cognitive level of analysis because of the KWL chart we have created for them to see what they do know what they'd like to know wand finally what they have learned due to the activity designed for them to complete. In the KWL chart they are able to compare what they do know about thanksgiving to what they don't know and then they are able to narrow down what they will be researching. Synthesis is present because the children can see how the ideas of the first thanksgiving and what they did on that day and what is now done on Thanksgiving has been combined and now has a little bit of the past and the present ideas in the holiday. It also allows the children to see how times change and different groups of people still celebrate the holiday but in their own ways but they are all somewhat similar to another. They can also predict what might happen in future Thanksgiving celebrations and wonder what traditions will stick and what new ones might be created. Evaluation of what they learned and what they thought was important in their research of Thanksgiving is present. They can describe this in their journals after they have conducted their research. The reasons everyone has different Thanksgiving traditions is because different things about the holiday are more important to others. Everyone prioritizes what it is that they will do on Thanksgiving and what they will get out of the hoilday and pass on to their future generations. Standards 4.4.1 Understands that historical events in United States have implications for current decisions and influence the future 4.3.1 Analyzes the multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events in U.S. history 5.2.1 Understands how essential questions define the significance of researching a significant issue or event 1.1.5 (B) Select texts for a particular purpose using the format of the text as a guide. 1.1.5 (A) Establish the purpose for reading a type of text (literature, information) before reading. 1.1.5 (G) Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text. Summarize the major ideas, themes or procedures of the text. Relate new information or ideas from the text to that learned through additional reading and media (e.g., films, audiotapes). Clarify ideas and understandings through rereading and discussion. Make responsible assertions about the ideas from the text by citing evidence. Extend ideas found in the text. 1.4.5 Write poems, plays and multi-paragraph stories. Include detailed descriptions of people, places and things. Use relevant illustrations. 1.5.5 Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic. Gather, organize and select the most effective information appropriate for the topic, task and audience. 1.8.5 Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies Reflection on Standards Through researching on the internet, reading through various books, and looking at many videos about the first Thanksgiving, students will be able to collect the useful information from the many mediums and put together a clear understanding of what transpired at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Each student will individually be able to summarize the major ideas and themes through their research and understanding by writing in their journal. The knowledge of historical importance should be very evident through each child's research as well. The acting out of the journal entry will ensure that the students are able to clarify issues that the other students in the class may have while clarifying their own understanding at the same time. Each area of research compilation and organization of facts strengthens many parts of each student's learning ability.


  • Educational Technology > General
  • Educational Technology > Using Multimedia & the Internet
  • Social Studies > General
  • Social Studies > Research
  • Social Studies > United States History

Education Levels:

  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5





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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
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Curriki Rating
On a scale of 0 to 3
On a scale of 0 to 3

This resource was reviewed using the Curriki Review rubric and received an overall Curriki Review System rating of 2, as of 2010-11-17.

Component Ratings:

Technical Completeness: 3
Content Accuracy: 2
Appropriate Pedagogy: 2

Reviewer Comments:

This resource guides students through the process of researching the first Thanksgiving. Students complete a KWL chart to access prior knowledge and think about what they would like to learn. In groups, students research key questions from the perspective of either a settler or a Native American and then write a journal entry from that view point. As a final activity students reenact the first Thanksgiving by incorporating what they have learned. This lesson uses a variety of instructional strategies and encourages students to work together to gain a greater understanding of the topic. The lesson is intended for 8-10 year-olds who will most likely need more guidance during the research component of the lesson. A handout with key questions for note-taking and a model of a journal assignment would be beneficial. It is also recommended that students have previously been taught to navigate online resources in terms of reliability and readability.

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