I should have posted this unit before Thanksgiving, I know, but time got away from me, so here it is now. I’ll try to remember to repost some of this, next year for others benefit.
We thoroughly enjoyed studying Thanksgiving this year, it was our first time, so we focused mostly on just laying a foundation, introductory stuff.
My mom (who homeschooled me and my three sisters) combined efforts with me to teach my 4 year old niece at the same time as us. My mom is great! She found a lot more than I did, and actually started her unit prior to us, so her research really helped. In fact, my mom and niece came up one day so that we could do part of our unit together – which was really fun for the kids, to see each other learning the same things.
The first thing we did as a group was make a Mayflower – I saw this idea on Superheroes and Princesses and thought “that looks easy enough” so we decided to try it.
I cut the boat shape out of cardboard, took some white plastic kite pieces and some construction paper.
After the kids colored the boat, we assembled it with tape.
We talked about what it would have been like on the Mayflower, a boat that wasn’t actually made for people to travel on, but supplies. The kids knew from some of their books, that the trip took 2 months, and that 2 people died on the boat on the way to America.
Treyton colored a picture of the mayflower for his lapbook cover. He was so cute, when I would ask him what the name of the boat was he would say “flower something”.
We made popcorn balls (out of popcorn and marshmallow) because the Indians in the Massachusetts area were thought to have invented them and they were probably at the first Thanksgiving. This was obviously a highlight for the kids, messy and tasty.
I printed off these pilgrim dolls (already colored) from making friends. I cut them out, and Treyton assembled them. He really liked this activity, and I was pleased to see that there were lots of different types of dolls we could use again in the future.
I’m not sure where my mom came up with this idea, but we made pilgrim houses from craft sticks (we colored them with brown markers), some type of twisted craft paper, and buttons.
I recommend using cardboard for the backing, regular cardstock or construction paper would not be strong enough.
Treyton had a lot of questions about the pilgrim’s houses. He was surprised to learn that they lived in one-room-homes and that the kids usually slept on the floor. I found some pictures of different types of pilgrim houses (I think I found 3) that we added to our lapbook on a house flip-book.
Squanto & Indians
I also had Treyton assemble the Indian paper dolls to add to our lapbook after reading “Squanto and the First Thanksgiving”. I was surprised by the amount of detail in a children’s book, but appreciated the simplicity of the read and the illustrations which helped keep Treyton’s attention.
I also printed off a squanto lapbook piece (page 34 of 44) from the Amanda Bennett free unit study off of homeschool share.
We mapped out the route the Pilgrims took on a world map, which we then added to our lapbook.
We also talked about the New England states: which states are included and where specifically the Pilgrims lived (Massachusetts).
We naturally, spent some time discussing what we were thankful for and how much the Lord has blessed us. We generally do a Thanksgiving Hand Tree, which we didn’t do this year, instead we decided to add this thankful turkey craft in our lapbook for the things Treyton was thankful for, and a corn flip book for the things Lexie was thankful for.
I also made some of my own food lapbook pieces. One asking what food the Pilgrims and Indian’s had at the First Thanksgiving and Which foods we have at our Thanksgiving.
I printed our lapbook pieces from all over. I hope I remember them all. Some of the pieces I’ve already referred to above (the pilgrim dolls, house replica with the house flip book, and mayflower cover.
~ Church Flipbook – I drew a church flip book and wrote on the cover, “Why did the Pilgrims leave England?” on the front. I wrote Treyton’s answer on the inside.
~ I also added the pieces that we put on our timeline into our lapbook. To help reinforce what we learned.
~ I printed off this Thanksgiving Mini-Book which Treyton, Lexie and I colored together. We had fun doing this all together.
~ Seasons Flip Book: Treyton specifically asked about the pilgrims in each of the seasons, so I quickly made a lapbook piece to show Treyton what the Pilgrim’s first year was like, through the seasons.
Unit Goals – Lessons I Wanted to Teach
- Why did the Pilgrim’s Leave England?
- Who was here before the Pilgrims?
- How Did the Pilgrim’s get here?
- What was it like on the Mayflower
- Where did the Pilgrims land in America?
- Map Studies:
- The Pilgrims Journey
- Where the Pilgrims landed is called “New England”
- Which states make up “New England”
- What was life like for the Pilgrims?
- Who was Squanto?
- What was Squanto’s story?
- Thanksgiving Food:
- What were some of the foods they ate at the first thanksgiving?
- What foods do we like to eat to celebrate Thanksgiving?
- What are some of the things we are thankful for this year?
Scholastic had a bunch of incredible resources on their site that we watched and learned a lot from. Here are a few of our favorites:
Tour the Mayflower
Learn about the Daily Life of a Pilgrim
Learn more about the Pilgrims and How they Lived
Sam Eaton’s Day
Links of Printables:
I made quiet a few printables to include in our lapbook.
How To Plant Corn Grades 1-3
Coloring Picture of the Mayflower from ABC Teach
Thanksgiving Coloring Pages from Activity Village
My First Thanksgiving Mini Book
Links to Activties:
Complete Mayflower Passenger List – you could use this list to select someone to be who was on the Mayflower, possibly to imagine you were them and to interview them.
Make a Thanksgiving Hand Tree
Make the Mayflower – I found this idea on Superheroes and Princesses
Possible Vocabulary Words:
Pilgrim, Freedom, Disease, Indian, Harvest, Tradition, Mayflower, Thatch – plant stalks used for roofing
Extra On-Line Links:
Amanda Bennett Free Thanksgiving Lapbook Pieces
Extra Lapbook Pictures
Like, I said before my mom and I did this unit together, she was gracious enough to send me picture of her and Shayla’s (my niece’s) lapbook that they put together. I thought you all might enjoy it.
They did an outstanding job (yeah, I’m a little jealous about how nice it turned out!!)