Lesson Plan on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

Teacher: Mitchell (Mimi) Allerton  Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 5th  Date: November 8, 2000

Sunshine State Strand, Standard and Benchmark - SS.A.4.2.1
Strand A: Time, Continuity, and Change (History)
Standard 4: The student understands United States history to 1880.
Benchmark 2.1: The student understands the geographic, economic, political and cultural factors that characterized early exploration of the Americas.

I. Content: I want my students to understand how the choice the Pilgrims made to start a new life in America affected both themselves and the Native People who had been living in the Americas for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

II. Prerequisites: Students should have background knowledge of the following concepts:

immigrate, emigrate, events in England and why many people chose to leave (e.g. religious controversy and persecution, and economic hardship).

III. Instructional Objective: When requested, the student will compose, in written form, journal entries and a story regarding the Mayflower era. They must reference the following who, what, when, where, why and how, and include both Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native People in the compositions.

IV. Instructional Procedures:

  • Lesson-Initiating Activity:

  • Day 1: I will have pre-selected five students to represent the Hopkins family - Elizabeth (the mother, who was pregnant), Stephen (father), and Gyles, Constance and Damaris (children). I will have marked the floor with masking tape a rectangular area 6' in length by 3' in height and the children will stand, sit or lie in this area. I will show a diagram of the Mayflower on the overhead projector -- a side view of the ship with all sections highlighted (e.g. the rigging, the half deck, the steerage, 'tween decks, etc.). I will tell the students that 102 people were living in a room the size of a volleyball court for 66 days and nights. A family had to exist in this tiny space. There will be a list of passengers on a poster board and I will discuss some of the passengers in further detail. I will display a map and we will chart the course of the Mayflower and discuss the voyage.

  • Core Activities:

  • Day 2: I will read The Pilgrims of Plimoth and the students will take turns reading Tapenaum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times. Displayed on several poster boards will be quotes from Bradford, Winslow and other pilgrims on the voyage, death at sea, the arrival at Cape Cod, the first winter, relations with native people, and accounts of the First Harvest Celebration. I will make a chart on the chalkboard and the students will help me list the important facts gleaned from the books and the quotes.

  • Day 3: I will tell stories and discuss the following, and also those noted in the objective:

  • Day 4 and 5: The students have to write in journals describing, in detail, several days in the life of a Pilgrim or a Wampanoag child, circa 1620-1622. There will be numerous research books, encyclopedias and a list of Internet web pages to help the students research and write stories. The students will work in cooperative groups doing research and helping each other write in journals. The students will continue researching and writing in their journals the next day in cooperative groups. Weekend homework will be to write two more journal entries. The students are told they will have to write a story without looking at their journals or research materials on the following Monday.

  • Closure Activity:

  • Day 6: I will give an oral summary of the Mayflower, Pilgrims and Wampanoag and put a list of facts on the overhead projector. We will have a question, answer and discussion period. This will be followed by the students' assignment to write a story in class without looking at their journals or research materials. The stories must include:

  • ESOL Considerations: I will create picture cards for visual aids and write the names of important people/events on large cards as graphic organizers. The children will work in cooperative groups during the research activities and can help each other. I will modify my speech, repeat and rephrase as necessary. I will be available to help individual children before or after school. Through these strategies and a positive classroom atmosphere of acceptance I hope to reduce the anxiety level of ESOL children.

  • V. Materials and Equipment: 

    Diagram of the Mayflower (overhead transparency)
    Map for charting the course of the Mayflower (overhead transparency)
    Poster boards with list of passengers and quotes
    Overhead projector, chalkboard, colored markers, masking tape, yardstick

    Children's Books:

    The Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall
    Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters
    Reference Materials and Books:
    Encyclopedia (books and on-line versions and children's reference books)
    Copy of the Mayflower Compact of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
    Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth (written by the Pilgrims themselves)
    Land Ho! - 1620. A Seaman's Story of the Mayflower, Her Construction, Her Navigation and Her First Landfall by W. Sears Nickerson
    Indian New England Before the Mayflower by Howard S. Russell
    New England Indians by C. Keith Wilbur
    Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition by Russell M. Peters

    Web Sites:

    http://www.plimoth.org - Plimoth-on-Web - Plimoth Plantation - The Living History Museum of 17th Century Plymouth
    http://teacher.scholastic.com - The First Thanksgiving Teacher's Guide
    http://members.aol.com/calebj/ - Caleb Johnson Mayflower Web Pages

    VI. Assessment/Evaluation: I will assess students' understanding of the concepts taught based upon the completeness, accuracy, clarity and detail in their journals and stories. Grammar and spelling will be assessed as well as content. I will grade the stories and journals on a rubric scale.

    VII. Follow-up Activities: Multicultural: Each student will be given the assignment to ask family members (father, mother, grandfather, grandmother on both paternal and maternal side) his/her history and heritage and take notes on index cards. The students will have to explain their own story with the rest of the class using the note cards. I will explain the concept that we all come from someplace in the world and we each have our own personal stories. Geography/Map: This could extend to a map activity. I will explain that my father's ancestors are from England and Ireland and tell stories. I place tags coded "Allerton - Father" on pins over England and Ireland. Next I explain that my mother's ancestors are from Belguim and England and place tags on "Allerton - Mother" on pins over these two countries. I have prepared in advance tags for each child with their last names printed in black marker. The children and I will place tags on the world according to which student belongs to which place.. A class discussion will follow on different cultures and places in the world and that we, in America, live in a big "melting pot".

    VIII. Self-Assessment: I will assess the information contained in the journals and stories to see if the students have grasped the major concepts of the Mayflower, Pilgrims and Wampanoag. I will note class participation, questions asked, and how well the students were able to research facts. I will determine if there are any discrepancies between the instructional objectives and the actual learning outcomes by assessing the class discussions and information contained in their journal entries and stories. I will ask myself the following:

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