Thanksgiving Activities To Use in the Classroom
1. The early Pilgrims built their homes using a construction technique called wattle and daub. Research wattle-and-daub techniques.
2. Have students experiment with clay, sand and straw combinations on frames they make from sticks.
3. Students will find that their creations crack in places as they dry. The same thing happened in early New England.
4. After they build their model wattle and daub homes, have students work in small groups to come up with a list of advantages and disadvantages of the wattle and daub methods.
5. Ask students how the climate and geographical location of the Pilgrims created additional problems during varying times of the year.
6. Students will come up with factors such as cold, snow, rain, wind, insects, wild animals, Native Americans, ease of break-in, fire, exposure to the natural elements and other situations the Pilgrims had to adjust to.
7. Have students come up with laws they consider necessary to enable people to survive in a harsh new land.
8. Depending upon the maturity level of the students, relate early American documents to observations the students come up with.
9. Have groups of students make a list of what food supplies Pilgrims would have brought with them from England and what crops they would have planted upon arrival in America.
10. Research foods that were of Native American origin. Make one of these dishes the Natives taught the Colonists to prepare: succotash, Indian pudding,red flannel hash, corn oysters or johnnycake. Students can do Internet research to locate the recipes or come up with their own inventions.
11. Have students dry apples by cutting out the cores, leaving skin on. Show them how to cut the apple into slices to make apple rings. String the apple slices through the holes, leaving a space between each slice, and hang them up to dry.
12. Write journal entries about daily life from the perspective of “A Day in the Life of – ” a man, woman, female teen or male teen.
13. Remind students that early Colonists would have little access to games and equipment. Have them invent games that require little or no equipment that Colonial children could have played for entertainment.
14. To point out the difficulty of communication between Native Americans and English Colonists, divide the class into two groups. Require them to spend one class period using only non-verbal communication with the other side as they complete one or more class projects. Have them write journal entries about the results.