Thanksgiving Ideas for the Classroom, Grades 6-8
Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans, Activity Ideas and Other Curriculum Resources
The First Thanksgiving
In these leveled units, students in grades K2, 3-5, and 6-8 learn about the hardships encountered by the Pilgrims on their voyage and in their new settlement and explore different aspects of Plymouth colony's first harvest feast. Teachers will find lessons and teacher guides as well as interactive teaching tools and multimedia resources.
Myth and Truth: The “First Thanksgiving”
Students in grades 6-8 investigate the Wampanoag, the pilgrims, and the "First Thanksgiving” to sort myth from reality. They prepare group presentations and share their findings.
Student Activities: After the Mayflower
Students in grades 6-12 use the Internet to compare populations of Native peoples in North America in 1615 and today. Teachers will find a downloadable teachers guide.
4-8. Make a Thanksgiving theme picture frame.
You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving
4-8. In this interactive presentation, students use the skills of historians to explore the myth and misconception surrounding “The First Thanksgiving.” Requires Flash Player 6. Includes a teachers guide.
NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art
5-12. Includes a history of corn, instructions for planting a Three Sisters Garden, and directions for art project using cornhusks.
6-12. Fill in the blanks in the first four paragraphs of this Op-Ed from the Opinion section, “A Moveable Fast.” Use your own words, or click “read more” to choose from a scrambled list of the words that were removed.
6-12. Complete this crossword online or print it out.
Crossword: The Pilgrims
6-12. A link to the answers is provided.
Teaching About the First Thanksgiving
Discover the many meanings of Thanksgiving by exploring life in 17th-century America and the experiences of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags.
Teaching Resources for Thanksgiving
Lessons, extensions, multimedia resources, and recommended books.
Native American Perspectives on Thanksgiving
Links to additional resources.
Grade 4-8 Teacher and Student Resources for American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving ( PDF, 4.7 MB, 10 pgs.)
The National Museum of the American Indian provides a study guide, full-size printable versions of poster images, a separate lesson on the topic of Thanksgiving, and more.
Memoirs. Excerpts from primary sources. Thanksgiving Timeline
Teachers Guide: After the Mayflower
This PBS Teachers Guide provides comprehension and discussion questions, describes student activities, and lists useful websites. The questions are best used after viewing the episode, which is viewable on the PBS website. ( PDF 10.08 MB, 10pages)
Thanksgiving on the Web
A source of Thanksgiving postcards, recipes, facts, and trivia.
Pilgrim Hall Museum: Learning Online
The museum site features two curriculum units: Painted Pilgrims (grades 6-12) William Bradford: the Pen & the Person (grades 9-12).
Features Pilgrim history and Plymouth Colony primary sources.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Timeline
An annotated timeline 1616- 2007.
Native Languages of the Americas: Wampanoag
A source of information on language and culture. Includes a fact sheet and an introduction to Wampanoag Indian mythology.
NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art
This site focuses on the arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples. Turkey Trivia
Thanksgiving by the Numbers
Consider a statistical view of Thanksgiving. Find out how many turkeys are raised for Thanksgiving, how many pounds of potatoes Americans consume around the holiday, and how many pies will be produced. Links to other Thanksgiving quiz and turkey facts.
Learn about wild and domesticated turkeys in the United States.
Thanksgiving Recipes for Kids
Kids can help mom, dad, brother, or sister make sweet potato pie, marshmallow pilgrim hats, and turkey cookies.
Pass the Dessert: America's Thanksgiving Recipes
Find seven recipes for old fashioned Thanksgiving desserts and listen to an audio clip as the some of the finished recipes are tasted and rated.
Ten Thanksgiving Books for Children
K-8. Annotated reading list.
New Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trips
K-12. Tour the Pilgrim Village, the Wampanoag Homesite, and the Plimoth Plantation.
Truman Capote's The Thanksgiving Visitor Parts 1-5 (approximately 44 minutes)
6-12. The 1967 film adaptation of Capote’s story starring Geraldine Page in five parts.
We Shall Remain: After the Mayflower (1:11:36)
6-12. Part I of We Shall Remain: After the Mayflower opens with the celebration of the first Thanksgiving.
Keeping Score: Ives Holidays Symphony (approximately 15 minutes)
Michael Tilson Thomas describes Charles Ives Symphony: New England Holidays. Those not familiar with Ives The 4th Movement: Thanksgiving begins at 41:30.
History of Thanksgiving
14 brief videos covering Thanksgiving history, food, football, and more.
last updated: July 14, 2016
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This Thanksgiving weekend, StoryCorps will work with teachers and high school students to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans. The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national assignment to engage people in the act of listening, and the pilot project is specially designed for grades 7-12 across the curriculum.
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Advice & Support
Quick ideas for celebrating the holiday, written and submitted by readers themselves.