Free Thanksgiving Unit Study

Try this Free Thanksgiving Unit Study in your homeschool!

(Click here for a downloadable PDF of this unit study and others.)

I can’t believe that summer is already almost over! Sniff. Every year it seems like it takes forever to get here and then it passes by in what seems like a heartbeat. So sad.

As much as I love this season, though, and really do not like the colder weather, seeing the autumn decorations that are already all over the stores has made me nostalgic for pumpkin bread, hot chocolate, and apple cinnamon muffins.

And since I happen to be one of those people who likes to plan ahead (which is an understatement…I have three years worth of unit study activities written down in my planner…), I thought that now might be a nice time to share another unit study I’ve written with you. 



Thanksgiving/Pilgrims Unit Study

Recommended Resources:

Don’t Know Much About- The Pilgrims– Kenneth C. Davis
The First Thanksgiving– Linda Hayward
Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving– Joseph Bruchac
The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin– Stan and Jan Berenstain
Cranberry Thanksgiving– Wende and Harry Devlin
The Berenstain Bears’ Thanksgiving– Stan and Jan Berenstain
Thanksgiving Is…– Louise Borden
Beauty and the Beaks- A Turkey’s Cautionary Tale– Mary Jane and Herm Auch
A Plump and Perky Turkey– Teresa Bateman



pilgrim                              prayer                                     chamber

Puritan                              passenger                              scurvy

pilgrimage                       colonist                                  Plymouth Rock

worship                            colony                                     Mayflower

settlement                      explorer                                  Common House

fertilizer                          venison                                    treaty

musket                            parley                                        meetinghouse

trencher                          harvest                                     maize



1. Before learning about the first Thanksgiving, write a composition on what you think it was like. (Language Arts)

2. The Puritans left England so they could worship the Lord in their own way. Research in which countries today it is dangerous to be a Christian. Do believers in these countries seem to be decreasing or has there been a dramatic increase in the numbers of Christians despite the oppression? (History, Social Studies, Critical Thinking)

3. Read about what conditions were like on the Mayflower. (History)

4. The Mayflower was loaded with mice, maggots, rats, and lice. What diseases can be carried by these creatures? (Science, Health)

5. Research the lives of the Puritans and write a paper on their journey. (History, Language Arts)

6. Before sailing to America, the Pilgrims went to Holland. Locate Holland, England, and America on a map. Measure their distances from each other. (Geography, Math)

7. Aboard the Mayflower, food such as “pease porridge,” “loblolly,” “poor john,” and “stewed prunes” were served. Find out what these are. (History, Language Arts)

8. One man brought 126 pairs of shoes to the New World with him. How many shoes is that? (Math)

9. Research Pilgrim settlements and build a diorama. (History, Art)

10. Samoset was an Algonkian Indian who introduced himself to the Pilgrims and spoke English. Squanto was a Patuxet Indian who also spoke English. Find out how they learned English and prepare an oral report. (History, Language Arts)

11. The Pilgrims made a peace treaty with Chief Massasoit. Write a treaty of your own. What would be important to include? (Social Studies, Language Arts, Critical Thinking)

12. Act out the signing of the peace treaty between Governor Carver and Chief Massasoit. (Art, History)

13. Use these Pilgrim words/phrases in sentences: (Language Arts)

bootless– useless
gammy– clumsy
poppet– doll
Oh, marry!– Oh, no! or Oh, gosh!
dally– to waste time; dawdle

14. Make Pilgrim costumes out of old clothes, sheets, tablecloths, etc. Have fun with it! And remember, Pilgrims wore colorful clothes- not just black and white. (Life Skills, Art, History)

15. Use feathers and beads to make Native American headbands, headdresses, and necklaces. (Art, History)

16. Pilgrims ate their meals with their bare hands, unless it was soup. Have a meal of bread, meat, and cheese, and use only a knife and your hands to eat it. Wear your costumes if you’d like! (History, Life Skills)

17. Make Pilgrim’s bread: (Life skills, math)

1 c. water
1 c. stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
2 T butter

– Bring water to a boil.
– Mix cornmeal and salt together in a bowl. Add boiling water and stir until smooth. Stir in milk and let sit for five minutes. Beat in egg.
– Melt butter in frying pan, then use a spoon to drop batter onto pan. Cook until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook about one minute. Serve hot or cold, and don’t forget to eat with your hands!

18. The Pilgrims did not call their harvest feast “Thanksgiving.” What does “thanksgiving” actually mean? (Language Arts)

19. The first Thanksgiving lasted for three days. How many hours is this? Minutes? Seconds? (Math)

20. The men and boys played games and had contests during the three-day feast. Plan your own three-day event. This time women and girls are invited, too! (Physical Education)

21. Research what food was actually eaten on the first Thanksgiving. What is different from the traditional Thanksgiving meal today? (History)

22. Find the location of the Plymouth Plantation on a map. (Geography)

23. One in six Americans has a relative who came here on the Mayflower. This is the same as 1/6. Make some Pilgrim and Native American paper dolls, and use them to demonstrate fractions. (Math, Art)

24. Write an essay about what you are most thankful for. (Language Arts)

25. Begin to develop a habit of offering a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord daily. (Character)

26. Use index cards and Thanksgiving stickers to make placeholders for your Thanksgiving Day meal. This is a great way to practice your cursive. (Art, Language Arts)

27. Trace your hands and make a drawing of a turkey. Add some feathers, some googly eyes, and a felt or foam beak. Gobble gobble! (Art)



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

24 thoughts on “Free Thanksgiving Unit Study”

  1. This is an excellent lesson plan for all ages. Thanks for sharing it. I am the mother of triplets who are about to turn twenty. They’re all in college and they’d enjoy answering some of these questions and learning some of this information. I’m sure homeschool parents will greatly appreciate your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot believe summer went by so fast. I’m not ready for it to be over.
    However, I am ready for fall. I know that doesn’t make complete sense. I love fall, it’s my favorite, but I also enjoy the lazy summer days with my babies. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving Unit Study with us!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Shelly! Awesome resource here for elementary grades. I am currently taking my 20 years of Plimoth Plantation plays and programs in a variety of formats for elementary through 9th grades and creating a resource for studying the Thanksgiving story from our American history through drama. I hope to have it available in about a week–waiting on my son’s sheet music arrangement of The Ballad of Plimoth Plantation. My material is drawn from Bradford’s diary “Of Plimoth Plantation” and I do include some other resources, too. I can add the link to this post–you have a couple great things for the younger ones. Would love for you to review it if you can. I’ve used these plays successfully over the years in both Christian schools and homeschool co-ops. Message me if you’re interested. I will have an advance page on my website within the next couple of days.

    Liked by 1 person

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