Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

Kindergarten - American Civilization - November - Overview

The American Civilization lessons for November examine the Thanksgiving Day celebration, the arrival of the Pilgrims, the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. Please note that the literature section for November also contains two history lessons. These lessons are written to accompany the literature selection The Story of Jumping Mouse. They deal with the culture of the Sioux and should be taught in conjunction with the story.

Suggested Books

Anderson, Joan. The First Thanksgiving Feast. New York: Clarion Books, 1984.

Barth, Edna. Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1975.

George, Jean Craighead. The First Thanksgiving. New York: Philomel Books, 1993.

McGovern, Ann. . . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower. New York: Four Winds Press, 1969.

San Souci, Robert. N.C. Wyeth's Pilgrims. Chronicle Books, 1991.

Spinelli, Eileen. Thanksgiving at the Tappletons. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1982.

Waters, Kate. Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl. New York: Scholastic,


Waters, Kate. Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

West, Robin. My Very Own Thanksgiving: A Book of Cooking and Crafts. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1993.


Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 4


Recognize the Pilgrims as one of the first groups of Europeans who came to America to live.

Identify some of the hardships faced by the Pilgrims.

Understand the purpose of the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving celebration.


A world map

Activity sheet


Have children recall the voyage of Christopher Columbus. Remind them that although Columbus saw the Americas, he did not stay. Tell them that today they will learn about a group of people from another country in Europe who came to America to live more than 100 years after Columbus saw the Americas.

Refer to the world map. Point to England. Say: This is the country of England. Many years ago a group of people called the Pilgrims came to America from England. They sailed on a ship named the Mayflower. They crossed over the Atlantic Ocean to a place in America called Plymouth. (Show the route by dragging your finger across the map.) Tell the children that the Pilgrims left England because they wanted to pray and worship in a way that was not allowed in England. The Pilgrims were very religious people and because they wanted to pray and live in the way they believed was right, they were willing to sail across the ocean.

Explain to the children that the Mayflower was not a very large ship. There were 102 passengers and about 30 crew members. Emphasize that the Pilgrims had to leave behind many of their possessions. They could only bring essential things like food, water, tools, guns, blankets, candles, buckets, tables, chairs, a few animals, and some fishing equipment (hooks, nets, and lines).

Tell the children that the Pilgrims arrived in America in the winter time. When the Pilgrims came ashore, they named the land Plymouth, after the town in England they had left behind. They anchored the Mayflower near a boulder, which has ever since been known as Plymouth Rock. They had no shelters and very little food left to eat. They made huts to live in and they shared food over the long, cold winter. Explain that many of the Pilgrims did not make it through the first winter at Plymouth. Even though everyone worked together, half of the Pilgrims died of the cold, lack of food, or disease.

Explain that once spring came, the Pilgrims were able to make better homes. A group of Indians called the Wampanoag (WAHM-puh-nog) helped the Pilgrims hunt and fish for food; they even helped the Pilgrims plant and grow food. When autumn came, the Pilgrims had lots of food and made a special dinner called a feast. They asked the Wampanoag to join them. They called the feast Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims gave thanks to God for the food they had to eat, and they gave thanks for the help the Wampanoag had given them. They gave thanks for their new home in America.

Suggested Follow Up

Allow time for the children to color the activity sheet of the Pilgrim boy and girl. Read one of the books suggested on the November overview.

Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 4 Page 9a