Thinking about Thanksgiving

Holiday Depth and Complexity

What do you notice or wonder? Can you think like a Air Traffic Controller?

What patterns do you notice? What changes over time in this video? How do Air Traffic Controllers think about Thanksgiving differently than a Chef?
US Thanksgiving Airspace Timelapse 2013

Dig Deeper into Thanksgiving Through Multiple Perspectives

National Museum of the American Indian

This poster and resource, American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, explores the holiday from the Native American point of view. Using the themes of environment, community and encounters, students build a deeper understanding of the contributions of Native Americans and the Thanksgiving holiday. Suggestions for both younger and older students are included. The Harvest Ceremony, Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth, also offers students a different perspective.

The Ethical Issues of Turkey

Consider introducing a different point of view about eating turkey for Thanksgiving! Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dave Pilkey can inspire some great debate. School children visit a turkey farm and befriend the turkeys. When they learn what’s planned for their new friends, they must try to save the turkeys from certain doom.
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

Do a Little Turkey Research

Students can use this Turkey Newsletter to learn about turkeys. Here is a link to a few student research options to record their turkey research as they Think Like a Zoologist.

New York Times Learning Network - Different Perspectives

Maybe it is difficult for your students to be grateful. Maybe students are experiencing food/hunger issues. Or their family gatherings are a source of conflict. Maybe your students are interested in learning about the challenges facing cranberry farms. The New York Times Learning Network has lots of resources to get your students thinking in different ways and from varying perspectives. Most resources are geared for grade five and up but the questions posed can easily be adapted for younger grades and spark discussion and writing.

Opinion Writing Kindergarten PBL

Dig Deeper into the History of Thanksgiving

Investigate How Thanksgiving Has Changed Overtime

Today, Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest holidays of the year, but the traditional dinners today no longer exactly resemble the first feast in 1621. Investigate how Thanksgiving has changed over time by reading or watching:

Thanksgiving, How Times Have Changed

Thanksgiving Back in the Day vs. Thanksgiving Now

Then and Now Thanksgiving

Be a Historian - Thanksgiving Interactive

Thanksgiving Interactive - Be a History Detective!

What really happened at the First Thanksgiving? Become a history detective and find out! In this fun, award-winning activity, studetns take on the role of a “history detective” to investigate what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration.

Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip

The First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip - This interactive website helps students learn the historical significance of how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving together at Plymouth Plantation.

Teacher Guide K-2, Teacher Guide 3-5, Teacher Guide 6-8

Thinking like a Disciplinarian

Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer - K & B Turkeys | MN Turkey Growers Association

Dig Deeper into Thanksgiving with TED-ED

Debating Thanksgiving Issues and Perspectives

This It's Up for Debate Newsletter might provide some resources to guide discussions and debate the perspectives about Thanksgiving.
Who started the presidential turkey pardon?

Dig Deeper into Thanksgiving Through Reading

Articles for Students

Historical Essays written specifically for kids can provide some historical accuracy when learning about Thanksgiving.

K-12 Thanksgiving Reading Passages from ReadWorks

History Behind Thanksgiving Traditions from DOGONews

Wild Turkeys -conflicts with humans

Is Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Wrong?

This Nonfiction Question Choice Menu might be helpful.

Lessons from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Department

The Immigrant Experience

Milly and The Macy's Parade is set in the 1920s and tells the story of the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through the eyes of a young Polish immigrant. This book teaches perseverance and gives students an example of the way in which America is a melting pot of many different cultures. Primary (K-3)

Here is an accompanying TweenTribune article about the parade puppeteer and

Parade Mishaps Over the Years

Dig Deeper into Thanksgiving Through Primary Documents

Primary Documents of Thanksgiving

The Library of Congress website has many Thanksgiving primary sources all in one place and easily accessible.

The Teaching with Primary Sources Teacher Guide has additional resources such as links to timelines.

The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings

Primary Sources specific to the Mayflower

Serve a Side Dish of Common Core

What Happened in 1621?

  • Edward Winslow writing in Mourt's Relation
  • William Bradford writing in Of Plymouth Plantation

Teaching a Historically Accurate Perspective

The American Indian in Children's Literature site has links to lists of historically accurate books.

Teaching Tolerance has resources for teaching Thanksgiving in a in a socially responsible way - lots of links to resources to deconstruct myths and stereotypes.

Dig Deeper into Thanksgiving With Mathematics

Real World Thanksgiving Math

Here is a little bit of Thanksgiving math...

Yummy Math Thanksgiving problems.

Ted, The Thanksgiving Turkey: Multiplication Stories, grades 3-5

Thanksgiving Budget Challenge for grades 3-5

A Collection of Thanksgiving Math Challenges, grades K-5

The Great Turkey Surprise Problem, grades K-2

Calories! Calories! It is estimated that the average person consumes 3,000 - 4,000 calories from a Thanksgiving meal. But what does that look like? This math problem might help kids put it in perspective. What Does 2,000 Calories Look Like?

Thanksgiving Logic

Try this Thanksgiving Dinner interactive logic puzzle.

Here is another Thanksgiving Logic puzzle.

Thanksgiving Fun