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Thanksgiving is a classic American holiday, one that nearly every American family
celebrates. Not only is it important for students to understand the reason we
celebrate a holiday, it is also important to study because the first Thanksgiving
and all leading up to it are fundamental to the founding of American and what
makes her who she is today.
It is also a great opportunity to teach about hard work, celebration, and
thankfulness. Through this unit, children will gain an understanding of the
rewards that come from, and only after, hard work and dedication, which is why,
at the end of the unit, there is a feast in the classroom to celebrate the students’
hard work.
In this unit there are three lesson plans: language arts, math, and science. The
social studies standards to be used throughout the whole unit are:
Maryland State Social Studies Standards:
MD SS.3.0-D-1: Describe how people adapt to and modify their immediate
environment. Identify ways that people change their environment to meet
their needs, such as planting crops or cutting forests.
MD SS.5.0-A-2: Compare daily life and objects of today and long ago. Tell
about people in the past using informational text and features.
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Objective: The student will be able to identify the reason for the first Thanksgiving and why we
still celebrate it today. The student will be able to summarize a book he was read and tell it back
in the form of a skit that includes characters, setting, and storyline.
Content Standards: Common Core Kindergarten Language Arts
a. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
b. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2
With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
c. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.3
With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events,
ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
d. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.10
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
Motivation: Students need no prior knowledge. However, I will ask them what they know about
Thanksgiving and their traditions (what the eat, who they eat with, etc.) {ENGAGEMENT}.
Pose the question of why? Then show a video that will make them interested to learn more. (for
example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faUYJ9fMiGg: this particular video tells the story
of Thanksgiving through a rock named Plymouth; it is a good mix of information and humor).
Instructional materials:
 Precut construction paper leaves
 Precut tree trunk taped to the wall
 The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
 “The First Thanksgiving Skit Outline” worksheets
 Costume bin filled with pilgrim/ Indian costumes and props
Procedures:
 When students enter the room, there will be a question on the board: “What do you do for
Thanksgiving?” They will sit in their seats, pull out their journals, and write a one or two
sentence response. While they write, I will be walking around the room offering
assistance.
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 When all the students have finished, I will choose a few students to read their sentence
out loud. Then I will ask if anyone knows why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Allow a few
students to answer.
 I will then show this video about the first thanksgiving {E-LEARNING}:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_0t4EcsjE&t=41s
 We will discuss for what the pilgrims had to be thankful{EXPLANATION}. Then, I will
give the students multiple precut construction paper leaves. I will ask them to draw
pictures or write words of what they are thankful for on each leaf. They will tape their
leaves onto a paper tree trunk that is on the wall of the classroom.
 We will gather on the carpet when our thankful tree is finished. I will read The Pilgrims'
First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern.
 I will place the students into groups of five or six, making sure there is at least one strong
reader/writer in each group. I will give each group a “The First Thanksgiving Skit
Outline” worksheet, and each group will work together to plan and practice their own skit
{EXPLORATION}. The teacher’s aide and I will help where needed.
 I will provide a bin with costumes and props for the students to choose from when it is
their turn to perform. They will then present their skits to the class {ELABORATION}.
Academic vocabulary: pilgrim, Indian, thanksgiving, harvest, Mayflower, characters, setting
Assessment and Evaluation: I will do informal assessment by watching them plan and perform
their skits to ensure they have a good understanding of the first Thanksgiving as well as
comprehension of the material and the ability to summarize and identify characters, setting, and
storyline. I will grade these things using a rubric (see appendix) {EVALUATION}.
Value Added:
1. Resources:
 Thanksgiving YouTube videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faUYJ9fMiGg
and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_0t4EcsjE&t=41s)
 McGovern, A. (1973). The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving. New York, NY: Scholastic.
 Chessin, D. A. and Moore, V. J. (2004). The 6-E Learning Model.
2. Universal Design for Learning
 Preferential seating for students with hearing loss or similar disabilities
 Grouping students based on abilities
 Extra help by myself or a teacher’s aide during reading/ writing for those who can’t
due to a learning disability
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Objective: The student will be able to set up a word problem in the form of an addition or
subtraction problem and solve it. (BWD 1: identify desired results)
Content Standard: Common Core Kindergarten Math—Traditional
a. CCSS.K.OA.A.2
Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by
using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
Motivation: Students need to know their numbers and how to add and subtract (we will have
covered this in an earlier lesson). Using the thanksgiving theme to integrate math problems will
give the students a reason to care about the lesson.
Instructional materials: “Johnny’s First Thanksgiving” math problem booklet, “Thanksgiving
Word Problems” worksheet
Procedures: (BWD 3: plan learning experiences and instruction)
 This lesson will come after the language arts lesson.
 Students sit at their desks while I teach them how to set up a word problem. I will call up
two random students, and hand them each three apples. I will say, “Jane has three apples
and George has three apples. How many apples do they have all together?” I will
demonstrate how to solve the problem by counting all the apples. I will say the problem
a second time, writing the problem 3+3 on the chalkboard. I will then answer the
problem on the board, saying “three apples and three apples equals six apples.” I will do a
few other addition and subtraction problems, using objects as well as number
representations on the board.
 The next part of the lesson we will work on as a class. I will hand out “Johnny’s First
Thanksgiving” booklets (see appendix) to each student. I will read the story of a boy
named Johnny who sailed to America on the Mayflower that integrates word problems
throughout the story.
o Johnny was a little boy who lived in the Netherlands. Johnny’s family did not want
to live in the Netherlands anymore, because the living conditions were very poor and
they wanted to worship God how they chose. Johnny and his mother, father, sister,
aunt, and uncle got on the Mayflower with many other people to head to a new land.
How many people from Johnny’s family sailed on the Mayflower?
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The people who sailed to the new land are called Pilgrims. The pilgrims brought
eight pounds of fish with them, but the sea was rough and they lost five pounds of
fish overboard. How many pounds of fish did they have left?
At the beginning of the journey, there were 102 pilgrims. During the journey, one
man died and one baby was born. How many people arrived to the new land?
When they arrived at the new land, Johnny went with his father to find some food for
dinner. They picked four ears of corn and caught three crabs. How many things did
they find to eat?
After a year of building a new village in the new world, the Pilgrims had a big feast to
celebrate all the hard work they had done and all the food they had grown. Johnny
piled his plate with seven roasted chestnuts, but his mother took three of them from
his plate. How many roasted chestnuts did he have left?
After each word problem, I will pause, read it a second time, and then call on a student to
tell me how to set up and solve the problem. I will guide him/her if he/she does not know
the answer. While we work through the problems, students will follow along and answer
the problems in the booklets.
 Finally, I will hand out the “Thanksgiving Word Problems” worksheet (see appendix).
Students will work on this individually, but I will circulate the room, offering guidance
where needed.
Academic vocabulary: word problem, add, subtract
Assessment and Evaluation: I will grade their worksheets and give them a check plus and a
smiley face if they got the problems right, or just a check and corrections if they get some
answers wrong. I will further assist the students who struggled so as to ensure every student will
succeed. (BWD 2: determine acceptable evidence)
Value Added:
1. Resources: McTighe, J. and Wiggins, G. (1998). The Backwards Design Process.,
“Thanksgiving Word Problems” worksheet, “Johnny’s First Thanksgiving” booklet
2. Universal Design for Learning:
 Pair students with a learning disability with advanced students during the group work
portion of the lesson, and offer them extra assistance during the independent work
section.
 Use physical objects to demonstrate math problems so that students with dyscalculia
can better comprehend the concept.
 Provide the math worksheets in brail for a student who is blind.
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Objective: The student will have a general understanding of the reason things float and the way boats
move through water.
Content Standards
a. MD STS.1.0-D-1 Design and make things with simple tools and a variety of materials.
b. MD STS.5.0-A-2 Explain that there must be a cause for changes in the motion of an object.
Motivation: I will start my lesson with a gizmo (“DIY Boat Racing”) to get my students interested in the
lesson.
Instructional materials: “DIY Boat Racing” gizmo (see appendix), tub of water, various small objects
(some that sink and some that float), Captain Kidd’s Crew Experiments with Sinking and Floating by
Mark Weakland
Procedures:
 This lesson will follow the language arts lesson.
 Ask students, “what makes something float or sink?” Allow a few students to answer the
question and then give students some objects and a tub of water to allow them to experiment with
determining which objects sink and which floats.
 Gather students on the carpet and offer this explanation: “Whether an object sinks or floats
depends on its density. Everything is made of molecules. Molecules are tiny particles that can
only be seen with a microscope. Some objects have molecules that are packed closely together.
Others have molecules that are packed more loosely. This is density. Objects with tightly packed
molecules are denser and sink. A paper clip or a penny is dense. Objects with more loosely
packed molecules are less dense and float. Wood, cork or sponges float” (explanation from
http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-sink-and-float/). Draw pictures on the board to display
molecules tightly and loosely packed. To further explain this concept, read the book Captain
Kidd’s Crew- Experiments with Sinking and Floating by Mark Weakland.
 Return to the water tubs, and provide new objects this time. Ask the students to predict if an
object will float or sink based on their new knowledge.
 (GIZMO) While they play in the tub of water, set up materials (tin foil) for boat making on the
tables. Call students over, have them take a seat, and explain that they will each make a boat
using these materials. Tell them they will be racing the boats, so they should make fast boats.
 (GIZMO) Give students approximately ten minutes to work on their boats and then have them
place their boats in the racing lanes (see gizmo), two randomly selected students at a time. The
other students may gather around to watch. Show the students a handheld fan and explain that it
represents wind. Blow the boats with the fan all the way to the finish line. Declare a winner and
then repeat with the next set of students.
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 Gather one last time on the carpet. Ask the students why they thought they might be learning
about boats in a unit on Thanksgiving. Answer: the pilgrims sailed to America on the Mayflower.
Explain that back then, there were no motors to make a boat move fast so they had to rely on
wind. Nowadays, we can get places much faster (i.e., plane).
Academic vocabulary: Mayflower, sink, float, race, buoyancy (be familiar with this term), gizmo
Assessment and Evaluation: No formal assessment for this lesson, but informal assessment will occur
through discussion. Conclude the unit with a Thanksgiving party/feast.
Value Added:
1. Resources:
 Tobin, Declan. (2016). Facts About Sink and Float - Easy Science For Kids.
Retrieved from http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-sink-and-float/.
 Weakland, M. (2012). Captain Kidd’s Crew Experiments with Sinking and Floating. North
Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books.
2. Universal Design for Learning:
 Pair students with a physical disability (i.e. one who lacks fine motor skills) with another
student during boat making, so that no one is left out. The student with a physical disability
that renders him unable to make a boat will be able to participate by giving ideas to his
teammate.
 The gizmo is very hands-on and will provide students who are kinesthetic learners with a
better chance of success.
 Provide very clear instructions for a student with autism, and provide him/her with a task
card to explain the procedure of the lesson.
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Who will be the Pilgrims?

Who will be Squanto?

Who will tell the story (narrate)?

What is the setting?

What will happen in your skit?
Beginning:

Middle:

End:
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Names: ___________________________________________________________________

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Historical All historical Almost all Most of the Very little of the
Accuracy information historical historical historical
appeared to be information information was information was
accurate and in appeared to be accurate and in accurate and/or
chronological accurate and in chronological in chronological
order. chronological order. order.
order.
Props/Costume Student uses Student uses 1-2 Student uses 1-2 The student uses
several props props that props which no props OR the
(could include accurately fit the make the props chosen
costume) that period, and make presentation detract from the
accurately fit the the presentation better. presentation.
period, show better.
considerable
work/creativity
and make the
presentation
better.
Required Student included Student included Student included Student included
Elements more elements all elements that most elements less elements
than were were required. that were than were
required. required. required.

Team Work Students in the Students worked Students worked Students did not
team worked well fairly well together poorly work together
together and together and and only a few well and some
everybody most people students students did not
participated participated participated participate at all.
equally. equally. equally.

Total points: ___ / 16
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Instructions: fill in the empty boxes to set up each word problem.

1. Johnny ate three mussels and then two more. How
many mussels did Johnny eat?

+_______

2. Johnny had four Indian friends and his sister Eliza had
one Indian friend. How many Indian friends did they
have total?

+_________

3. Johnny picked six berries, but three of them fell out of
his bucket. How many did he have left?

-________
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Answer Key

1. Johnny ate three mussels and then two more. How
many mussels did Johnny eat?

3
+___2____
5

2. Johnny had four Indian friends and his sister Eliza had
one Indian friend. How many Indian friends did they
have total?

4
+_____1___
5

3. Johnny picked six berries, but three of them fell out of
his bucket. How many did he have left?

6
-____3___
3
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Johnny was a little boy who lived in the Netherlands. Johnny’s
family did not want to live in the Netherlands anymore, because the
living conditions were very poor and they wanted to worship God
how they chose. Johnny and his father, mother, and two older sisters
got on the Mayflower with many other people to head to a new land.
How many people from Johnny’s family sailed on the Mayflower?

+ + + + =
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The people who sailed to the new land are called Pilgrims. The
At the beginning of the journey, there were 102 pilgrims. During the
pilgrims brought eight pounds of fish with them, but the sea was
journey, one baby was born and one man died. How many people
rough and they lost five pounds of fish overboard. How many
arrived to the new land?
pounds of fish did they have left?

- =
+ - =
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After a year of building a new village in the new world, the Pilgrims
When they arrived at the new land, Johnny went with his father to
had a big feast to celebrate all the hard work they had done and all
find some food for dinner. They picked four ears of corn and caught
the food they had grown. Johnny piled his plate with seven roasted
three crabs. How many things did they find to eat?
chestnuts, but his mother took three of them from his plate. How
many roasted chestnuts did he have left?

+ = - =
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Johnny was a little boy who lived in the Netherlands. Johnny’s
family did not want to live in the Netherlands anymore, because the
living conditions were very poor and they wanted to worship God
how they chose. Johnny and his father, mother, and two older sisters
got on the Mayflower with many other people to head to a new land.
How many people from Johnny’s family sailed on the Mayflower?

1+1+1+1+1=5
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The people who sailed to the new land are called Pilgrims. The
At the beginning of the journey, there were 102 pilgrims. During the
pilgrims brought eight pounds of fish with them, but the sea was
journey, one baby was born and one man died. How many people
rough and they lost five pounds of fish overboard. How many
arrived to the new land?
pounds of fish did they have left?

8-5=3
102 + 1 - 1 = 102
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After a year of building a new village in the new world, the Pilgrims
When they arrived at the new land, Johnny went with his father to had a big feast to celebrate all the hard work they had done and all
find some food for dinner. They picked four ears of corn and caught the food they had grown. Johnny piled his plate with seven roasted
three crabs. How many things did they find to eat? chestnuts, but his mother took three of them from his plate. How
many roasted chestnuts did he have left?

4+3=7 7–3=4
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Engineering & Science Education Design: Gizmo Instructions
Engineering Innovations I, Fall Semester 2016, Team Number 3

DIY Boat-Racing
The purpose of this project was to design a gizmo to teach students from preschool through
third grade a lesson that increases their interest in science & engineering through the lens of
social studies topics chosen by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Education 300 students.
The gizmo had to cost less than $30 to build, and be able to accompany and demonstrate
lesson plans about the topics of Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Christmas around
the world, and the seasons/weather. Using this gizmo, students can learn the basics of
aerodynamics and the interaction that objects have with wind and water by designing and
racing small handmade boats.
You will need…
Quantity Material You can get it Cost
from…
1 Genova 4.5”x 10’ plastic rain gutter Lowe’s $ 6.98
4 Raingo Vinyl Half Round Gutter End Cap Lowe’s $ 3.28
2 1 gallon of water Your sink! $0.00
1 Aluminum foil Walmart $2.97
2 OPTIONAL –handheld battery-power fans Your house! $0.00
OPTIONAL- pebbles, coins, small objects Your house! $0.00
1 OPTIONAL- spray paint Walmart $2.00
Total cost: $25.07
(building instructions on rear)
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Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5.

Instructions
1. Cut the plastic gutter into two 5-foot lengths with a handsaw. If you get a gutter with a narrow edge
consider putting a foam strip as a buffer on the edges so students don’t cut their hands.
2. Attach the end-caps to both ends of each gutter piece (see fig. 1). Make sure that the rubber seal isn’t
ripped and that it fits snugly.
3. (Optional) Put the gutters on a tarp or newspaper and spray paint them (see fig. 3).
Make sure the gutter pieces are on a level surface, side by side (see fig. 2), and pour about a gallon of
water into each. Remember to check for leaks! There is a possibility that some water may splash out- it
might be a good idea to put a towel underneath the gutters to protect surfaces.
4. Cut aluminum foil into 5”x 5” squares, and fold them into different shapes to use as boats (see
examples in fig. 3 & 4)
5. Put a boat in each lane, do a count-down, and get the boats going! The foil boats move very easily, so a
small fan or even “people-power” (blowing) should work quite well.
Suggestions for Parents and Teachers
 Every culture has used boats in some way. The design of these is often based around a particular need.
The Native Americans built speedy, narrow canoes to navigate the Mississippi river and beyond. The
Pilgrims and others of their time built huge sailing ships for transporting people and cargo. Consider
having students build boats based on famous designs. How do they compare?
 Have students build boats that fulfill certain objectives, (ie. a boat that can carry the most cargo and
still win, a boat that can make it in between rocks in the water, etc.). Talk about the different
functionalities of boats and how specific designs work best for specific tasks. This is a great way to
introduce the engineering design process: define the problem, suggest a solution, test the “fix,” and
repeat until the problem is solved.
 Try making boats out of materials other than foil, like foam, light wood, or even sponges! How do
different materials compare in terms of speed?
 Set up a fan adjacent or opposite to the racing lanes (keep electrical wires away from the water), and
have students race “against the wind.” Talk about the different ways that boats and other vehicles deal
with adverse weather conditions.
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Children’s Literature
 McGovern, A. (1973). The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving. New York,
NY: Scholastic.
 Weakland, M. (2012). Captain Kidd’s Crew Experiments with Sinking
and Floating. North Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books.
Student Resources
 Little Fox. (2014). The First Thanksgiving. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_0t4EcsjE&t=41s.
 Tobin, Declan. (2016). Facts About Sink and Float - Easy Science
For Kids. Retrieved from http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-sink-
and-float/.
 Zebtoonz. (2012). The Story of Thanksgiving. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faUYJ9fMiGg.
Teacher Resources
 Chessin, D. A. and Moore, V. J. (2004). The 6-E Learning Model.
 McTighe, J. and Wiggins, G. (1998). The Backwards Design Process.
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Add: to unite or join so as to increase the number, quantity, size, or
importance
Buoyancy: the power to float or rise in a fluid
Characters: people (though not necessarily human beings) described in
a story
Float: to rest or remain on the surface of a liquid
Gizmo: a gadget or device
Harvest: a crop or yield of one growing season
Indian: a member of the aboriginal people of America
Mayflower: the ship in which the Pilgrims sailed from Southampton to the
New World in 1620
Pilgrim: a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place
Race: a contest of speed
Setting: the locale or period in which the action of a novel, play, film, etc.,
takes place
Sink: to fall, drop, or descend to a lower level
Subtract: to take (one number or quantity) from another
Thanksgiving Day: a day for giving thanks for divine goodness
Word problem: any mathematics exercise expressed as a hypothetical
situation explained in words