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Thanksgiving Ideas for the Classroom, Grades 9-12

Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans, Activity Ideas and Other Curriculum Resources

Found in: Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies, 9-12

Lesson Plans & Activities

Lesson Plans

Pilgrims, the Mayflower Compact, and Thanksgiving
In this three lesson unit, students in grades 6-10 examine the voyage of the Mayflower, the Mayflower Compact, and Thanksgiving.

Black Friday Financial Literacy Lesson
Students in grades 9-12 explore comparison shopping and credit card use on Black Friday.

What Really Happened? Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving  Students (4-12) read and analyze the perspectives of different versions of the first Thanksgiving story.


The First Thanksgiving Student Activities for Grades PreK-12
This site includes lessons, activities, videos, slide shows, printables, and more.

NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art
5-12. Includes a history of corn, instructions for planting a Three Sisters Garden, and directions for art project using cornhusks.

Thanksgiving Fill-In
6-12. Fill in the blanks in the first four paragraphs of this Op-Ed from the Opinion section, “A Moveable Fast.” Use your own words, or click “read more” to choose from a scrambled list of the words that were removed.

Crossword: The Pilgrims
6-12. A link to the answers is provided.

Background Resources


Native Land Map an interactive and enlargeable world map that outlines native territories, languages, and treaties. A Teacher’s Guide is provided.

Thanksgiving Teachers Guide, primary sources, analysis tools from the Library of Congress.

Teaching About the First Thanksgiving
Discover the many meanings of Thanksgiving by exploring life in 17th-century America and the experiences of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags.

Teaching Resources for Thanksgiving
Lessons, extensions, multimedia resources, and recommended books.

Native American Perspectives on Thanksgiving
Links to additional resources.

Thanksgiving Timeline

Thanksgiving on the Web
A source of Thanksgiving postcards, recipes, facts, and trivia.


Pilgrim Hall Museum: Learning Online
The museum site features two curriculum units: Painted Pilgrims (grades 6-12) William Bradford: the Pen & the Person (grades 9-12).

Mayflower History
Features Pilgrim history and Plymouth Colony primary sources.


The Mashpee Wampanoag Timeline
An annotated timeline 1616- 2007.

Native Languages of the Americas: Wampanoag
A source of information on language and culture. Includes a fact sheet and an introduction to Wampanoag Indian mythology.

NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art
This site focuses on the arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples.

Turkey Trivia

Thanksgiving Census Facts
Consider a statistical view of Thanksgiving. Find out how many turkeys are raised for Thanksgiving, how many pounds of potatoes Americans consume around the holiday, and how many pies will be produced. Links to other Thanksgiving quiz and turkey facts.

Turkey Trivia
Learn about wild and domesticated turkeys in the United States.


Thanksgiving Recipes for Kids
Kids can help mom, dad, brother, or sister make sweet potato pie, marshmallow pilgrim hats, and turkey cookies.

Pass the Dessert: America's Thanksgiving Recipes
Find seven recipes for old fashioned Thanksgiving desserts and listen to an audio clip as the some of the finished recipes are tasted and rated.

Online Quizzes

Thanksgiving Quiz
Take and grade these 10 question quizzes.

Thanksgiving Trivia
Test your Thanksgiving savvy with this 80 question trivia test.

Online Video

New Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trips
K-12. Tour the Pilgrim Village, the Wampanoag Homesite, and the Plimoth Plantation.

A Symphony, New England Holidays: IV. Thanksgiving and Forefathers' Day  (14:57)

History of Thanksgiving
14 brief videos covering Thanksgiving history, food, football, and more.

last updated: October 16, 2019


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This Thanksgiving weekend, StoryCorps will work with teachers and high school students to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans. The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national assignment to engage people in the act of listening, and the pilot project is specially designed for grades 7-12 across the curriculum.
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Advice & Support

Best of Works4Me: Thanksgiving

NEA Staff Editors

Quick ideas for celebrating the holiday, written and submitted by readers themselves.