Context for this Lesson
TOPIC: Pilgrims coming to the New World
GRADE LEVEL: 1st/2nd Grade
- What was life like traveling on the May Flower?
- What was it like to form a new colony?
- Paper/Pens for Journal Entry
1. OPENING DISCUSSION
Ask students to describe what they did yesterday during their social studies time. Write down on the board important facts and information that will be useful to build on during the day’s activities. Have students move desks to the far corner of the room so that you have an open space.
2. EXPLODING ATOM
Bring all the students together in a tight circle. Ask them to imagine that they are pilgrims who have just come to the New World from England. Explain that you have some questions for the class to answer together. "When we stand in this position, very close together we are showing that we agree. So if our answer is “yes” to the question being asked we stand right here." Next have students “explode” out so the circle is very wide. "When we stand in these positions we are showing that we DON’T agree with a statement that is being given, this is our “no” position." Move close in again. “If this is yes, and all the way out here is no, where do you think maybe or sometimes might be?"
Once students understand the concept fully ask the following questions:
- I had a good time sailing on the Mayflower.
- I got seasick on the Mayflower.
- I am happy I decided to come to the New World with my family.
- It is easy to build a shelter in the New World.
- It is easy to find food in the New World.
- In the New World finding food is more important than finding shelter.
- It is easy to be a pilgrim.
3. ROLE WORK: TOWN HALL MEETING
Teacher takes on the role of the leader of the colony who has called all the colonists together for a meeting. Discuss what the most important “next” steps are now that we have arrived in the new world. Brainstorm a list of the things that need to be done. Figure out how to accomplish each task and break into groups to pantomime accomplishing the jobs. (Hopefully students will build a single shelter, look for food and fresh water, and address other basic needs.) Meet inside the shelter to review the day’s activities. Introduce the idea that a person was spotted in the woods. Brainstorm how we might try to approach these new people.
Writing in role: Ask students to write a paragraph as a diary entry about their very first day in their new home. Have students discuss how they feel about their discovery about the native people who are already living in the New World. Share reading with the rest of the class.
4. REFLECTING ON THE LESSON
- How did your character feel about moving to a new place?
- What was the most difficult thing your character had to deal with on their first day in the new colony?
- Have you ever gone to a new place and felt like your character?