You are the Historian; Investigating the First Thanksgiving As you work through this guide, you and your students will use the skills of historians to peel away the layers of myth and misconception surrounding “The First Thanksgiving” and discover what might really have happened during the fall of 1621. Along the way, you and your students will explore the differences between history and the past, and challenge your own ideas about history. Be prepared; what you discover may surprise you! Presented by Plimoth Plantation. Click here to launch the presentation Click here to read the Teacher's Guide
Mayflower and Me K-12 Curriculum and Video
Newly revised for 2012, the intent of this K-12 curriculum project, “Mayflower and Me,” is to develop one special curriculum on the “Pilgrim Story,” and offer it through the Education Committee of The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (SMDPA). Click here to learn more.
The following videos and teachers’ kits have been distributed by the State Society to the audio/visual libraries of the twenty-nine Intermediate Units of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Ordering instructions are included for each.
1. Colonial Life for Children—Plimoth Plantation Tracy and Greg, wondering what life for the Pilgrims was really like, blast back in time to Plimoth Plantation. Follow along as they visit with the Pilgrims and learn about daily life. A Wampanoag woman also teaches the kids about food, shelter and customs of the region’s Native American people. Running time 23 minutes, includes teacher’s guide. Grades 3-7.
2. The Mayflower Pilgrims Tells the early history of the Pilgrims in England and Holland. Sites connected with the Pilgrims are shown. Running time 43 minutes. Junior and Senior High School.
3. Video Tour of Plimoth Plantation A personal glimpse of history at Plimoth Plantation. A colorful documentary which includes interviews with staff and a look behind the scenes. Running time 30 minutes. All ages.
4. The Making of a Colony The story of the beginnings of the Plimoth Colony through eyewitness accounts using Gov. William Bradford’s history, Of Plimoth Plantation, and Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, written by Gov. William Bradford and Gov. Edward Winslow. Viewers are invited to follow the English colonists through their journey from Holland and England to America an experience their first difficult winter, their treaty with the Native people and celebration of their first successful harvest. A teacher’s handbook is provided. Running time 15 minutes. Ages 8 through 15.
5. Building the Mayflower II Video In 1955 enthusiastic groups from England and the United States joined together to create an accurate replica of the Mayflower, the vessel that in 1620 carried the Pilgrims to the New World. Using the original 1955-57 film footage, this 14- minute presentation traces the fascinating project from initial design through shipbuilding and launch, to its triumphant sail across the Atlantic.
Teachers’ Kits Distributed to IUs in 1999:
Coming to America An oversize packet of information geared to Fifth Grade Social Studies programs full of study prints that illustrate the voyage to the New World and how the Pilgrims lived during their first years at Plymouth Colony. Twelve study sheets include information on the Mayflower and her passengers. Individual sheets discuss the Pilgrims’ provisions, their supplies, foods, interaction with the Native Americans, clothes and other facts. They have useful graphics and are easy to use. A second slightly larger set of pages with color photographs have background information and prepared lessons on the back. These make presenting the story of the Mayflower easy, interesting and visually stimulating. They are perfect for holding up to a class so everyone can see. These six heavy sheets cover The Voyage, New Plymouth, The Harvest Festival, Preserving Foods, Farming Practices, and Children of New Plymouth. This handsome package of information is enclosed in a large glossy folder with a helpful glossary on the back.
Pilgrims: Then and Now In 1990 the State Society sponsored its own publication about the Pilgrims and how their covenant concept "played a major role in the formation of the church to which they pledged mutual aid in the care of one another." Their similar pledge with the native Americans promoted peace for fifty-five years. Thousands of copies have been distributed to schools, scout groups, etc. as well as each new State Society member. Click here to order.
The Pilgrim story is one of the best known stories and, paradoxically, one of the least known stories concerning our American beginnings. Many are familiar with the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, and the first Thanksgiving. Few know much about the great ideas and personalities which gave rise to and sustained the Pilgrims' heroic and persistent struggle to realize their dreams of living as a self-determining people.
Now available for teachers "Mayflower and Me K-12 Curriculum". This curriculum is a MUST for all educators, schools and organizations throughout the world, a MUST for adventurers searching myths and misconceptions in history, a waste if not utilized and passed on.
In an effort to bring the true story of spirit, purity of purpose and steadfastness of will of the Mayflower ancestors to today’s youth, each year the State Society completely funds classroom visits to elementary schools in the Commonwealth by museum instructors from the 1627 living history museum, Plimoth Plantation.
The Pilgrims in the 1600s used the Julian Calendar. Ever since 1752, we (the American Colonies) have used the Gregorian Calendar. The reason we switched to the Gregorian calendar was because the Julian calendar slightly miscalculated the exact length of a year by eleven minutes and fourteen seconds. During the 1500s and 1600s, the calendar was off by ten days. Hence, when we look back in time with our Gregorian calendar, we find that the Pilgrim's calendar was ten days behind. So what was September 6 by the Pilgrim's calendar is September 16 by our calendar.
By 1752 the calendar had become 11 days off. So the British Parliament, to fix the problem, declared the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and renamed September 3, 1752 to September 14, 1752 to fix the eleven-day disparity.
The Parliament also declared that New Years would fall on January 1, instead of March 25. This "New Years" discrepancy is the reason why some dates have been double-dated and look like March 5, 1621/2. This means it was 1621 to them because their New Years had not yet occurred, but it is 1622 to us because our New Years falls on January 1, not March 25.
Bartholomew, and Remember Allerton were born, respectively, in 1612 and 1614 in Leyden, the Netherlands (Holland). They were brother and sister. Their parents were Isaac (born in 1586) and Mary Norris Allerton who died on 25 Feb. 1621.
It is now a month or so after the harvest festival (what we call "The First Thanksgiving") of the year 1621. They, and their little sister Mary who was born in 1616, also in Leiden, have lived through the 66 day voyage and the terrible first winter in New England during which time half of those who came on the ship died. They were accompanied by their English friends who have also lived in Leyden.
Have you been to Plimoth Plantation, or had a classroom visit from a Pilgrim? E-mail us your Pilgrim or Mayflower stories, poems, photos, and art work for this site. We can't promise to print everything, but we will try. Don't forget to include your name, school name, town/city, state and your grade.