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Monday Morning Ready11.20.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

Today, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes any number of dishes. Turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. They are all there. If we were to create a historically correct feast made up of foods that were served at the so-called "first Thanksgiving," there would be slimmer pickings.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? Do you think it was served at the first Thanksgiving? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think people are so interested in knowing what foods and drinks were served at the first Thanksgiving?

Grade 7-8

This article focuses on the types of food that were served at the first Thanksgiving. Do you think food was the most important part of this meal? Why or why not?

Grade 9-10

Do you think that people are rewriting history when they call the harvest celebration in 1621 "Thanksgiving"? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Thanksgiving Menu

PROCESS:

  1. After reading the article, point out that two criteria determined what was served at the first Thanksgiving: items served at an English celebration at that time and, more importantly, what foods and drinks were available.
  2. Tell students to imagine that they are planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Instruct them to create a list of foods and drinks they would serve. Encourage them to include both their favorite foods and drinks and items that are directly related to their family's heritage. If any students' families do not celebrate this holiday, tell them to think of a special holiday that they do celebrate and create a menu for a meal served on that day.
  3. Provide an assortment of art supplies or access to a digital design program. Instruct students to create a complete Thanksgiving menu. Challenge them to design the menu in a way that reflects their family's heritage.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their menus with the class. As they do, instruct them to identify foods and drinks that reflect their family's heritage. Challenge them to explain the connection. Then encourage students to identify elements in the design of their menus that tell about their culture. If you wish to extend the lesson, invite students to bring in a sample of their favorite Thanksgiving food to share with the class.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving foods and drinks as a class. Prompt ideas by encouraging students to identify items that their families always serve during this meal. Then have each student create his or her own list. Provide art supplies so students can make a hard copy of their menus. Challenge students to include at least one element in the design that tells about their culture.

Grades 5-6:
Have students brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving foods and drinks in small groups. If necessary, prompt discussion by encouraging students to identify items that their families always serve during this meal. Then have each student create his or her own list. Provide art supplies so students can make a hard copy of their menus. Challenge students to include at least two elements in the design that tell about their culture.

Grades 7-8:
Have students brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving foods and drinks with a partner. Encourage them to include items that their families always serve during this meal. Have each student create his or her own list. Then give students time to conduct research to identify colors, symbols, etc. that reflect their family's culture. Give students the option of using art supplies to create a hard copy or using a design program to create a digital version of their menus.

Grades 9-10:
Instruct students to brainstorm a list of foods and drinks that their families always serve on Thanksgiving. Then give students time to conduct research to identify colors, symbols, etc. that reflect their family's culture. Instruct students to use a design program to create a digital version of their menus.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Where Does Your Thanksgiving Meal Come From?
This Smithsonian article takes a close look at where the staples of Thanksgiving dinner originate from including farms across the country, both large and small.

Pilgrims Pride
In this lesson, students use the book "Molly's Pilgrim" by Barbara Cohen to learn about modern-day immigrants as pilgrims.

Thanksgiving in North America: From Local Harvests to National Holiday
This resource gives a brief history of Thanksgiving. It includes Thanksgiving-related artifacts.

Fact Sheet: Plymouth Rock
This fact sheet is from the National Museum of American History. It provides a brief history of the actual "Plymouth Rock" and how pieces of the rock came to be in the Smithsonian's collection.

Video: Pilgrims, Provincetown and Plymouth
This video is from the Smithsonian Channel's, "Aerial America" series. The video clip from the Massachusetts episode highlights the Pilgrims arrival to Provincetown and discusses how they settled in Plymouth.
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