The legend of Thanksgiving is has grown and grown over the years. Today, what many younger students consider to be an historical view of Thanksgiving is just a cartoon of what actually happened. Was it called Thanksgiving? Did they eat turkey? How many Indians were at the first Thanksgiving? What was life like for children at the time of the first Thanksgiving? I found a wonderful interactive website called Be the Historian: the First Thanksgiving from the Plimoth Plantation website about what the first Thanksgiving was like. Students can explore the customs and traditions of the Indians and what the Pilgrim town was like. There are sections of the site that challenge students to learn about the popular myths about Thanksgiving and it even invites students to explore some primary sources.
By itself, the site is cool. However, I didn’t want my students just hit and missing stuff throughout the site. I wanted them to explore it with a purpose. As a result, I created a guide in the form of a worksheet that turn the site into a bit of a scavenger. It also helped make sure that students didn’t miss any of the good stuff.
Now I know what you are thinking: “Silly Tech Ninja, worksheets are high tech!” My response, is that not everything has to have a high tech solution and sometimes the best or the easiest solutions are low tech. For this problem, the easiest solution is low tech with a webby twist.
Closer to Thanksgiving, this website gets a ton of hits and therefore can become unbearably slow or just unresponsive. The kind Plimoth Plantation people have allowed you to download the website to your own local computer or server so you get no delays or slow downs. Pretty nice, eh? Directions for this are at the link above. The download link for the guide is below.
Technical Information: The download is in Adobe PDF and requires Adobe Acrobat to view. Download it free here.
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