The first Thanksgiving feast
The first Thanksgiving feast

The first Thanksgiving feast

I can describe the events that led up to the first Thanksgiving.

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Students learn about the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving, the role of the Wampanoag Native Americans, and the Pilgrims. Students will analyze the change of Thanksgiving traditions over time and end with a gratitude practice.

Learning objective

Students will be able to describe the events that led up to the first Thanksgiving.


Begin the lesson by discussing family traditions. Define the word “tradition” and have students share some of their favorite family traditions. Do they have any special Thanksgiving traditions?


Introduce the Wampanoag Native Americans and tell a little bit about them, describing the ceremony they held after the harvest. Next, introduce the pilgrims and their journey to the New World. Describe some of the difficulties they faced and the aid they received from Squanto and the Wampanoag, then go over the 1621 Wampanoag-Pilgrim Treaty. Have students compare the first Thanksgiving to modern-day Thanksigivng traditions. After this, explain how and why Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Ask students to recall what occurred during Lincoln’s presidency that made him want to unite the country.


Students respond to 10 multiple-choice and true or false questions.


Students will write a journal entry sharing what they are grateful for. What are some ways that Thanksgiving might change in the years to come? A virtual fireplace can also be found at the end of the lesson!

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