You are the Historian, - the First Thanksgiving, is a WebQuest that allow students to use the skills of historians to peel away the layers of myth and misconception surrounding The First Thanksgiving and discover what might really have happened during the fall of 1621.
Students and teachers can explore the differences between history and the past, and challenge conventional ideas about history.
The site provides a comprehensive teachers guide with Learning Objectives, skill development objectives and understanding objectives for students. Resources such as links to primary sources, KWL charts, suggested activities, guided inquiry and assessments, to name a few.
1: Students will understand how historians use multiple primary sources and educated guesswork to research the past and create history.
Student Version: How do historians research the past? How do historians create history?
2: Students will understand how the Wampanoag and the English colonists of 1621 represented distinct cultures with their own points of view.
Student Version: How are the cultures of the Wampanoag and the English colonists similar and different? Why might the Wampanoag and the English colonists have had different thoughts about the harvest celebration of 1621?
3: Students will understand how the 17th-century English colonists and the Wampanoag may have interacted during the harvest celebration of 1621.
Student version: What happened during the harvest celebration of 1621? What did the English colonists do? What did the Wampanoag do? What did they do together? Was the celebration a thanksgiving?
4: Students will understand how to respectfully celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
Student Version: How do I celebrate Thanksgiving in a respectful way? How do I encourage others how to celebrate in a respectful way?
Target Student Population:
Elementary grades. National Standards for Social Studies are given for Early Grades through 5th grade, although middle school students would find this educational. The content is also appropriate for high school, but the graphics and characters suggest it is directed from 3 7th grades.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic social studies and reading skills
Type of Material:
Case Study/ Simulation/ Animation
Teachers can use the resources to allow students to develop understandings regarding the misconceptions and myths surrounding the First Thanksgiving. There are 3 4 days of lessons, with guided inquiry and assessments which would assist a teacher in lesson planning.
This site could be used as a tutorial or as a class assignment.
Browser with internet access, Netscape or Internet Explorer, Macromedia Flash Player, speakers or headphones.
Evaluation and Observation
The site provides interesting information that helps clear up misconceptions about the first Thanksgiving, especially regarding Native Americans. The web-quest encourages students to compare their Thanksgiving traditions (types of foods, games played, and other traditions) with those from those who experienced the first Thanksgiving.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The target audience could be expanded to include upper grades in elementary, middle school or high school. It would be beneficial as an introductory investigation, or as a unit itself. The content could readily be incorporated into existing curricula. The teaching and learning goals are easy to identify.
The Webquest itself is very interesting and engaging, but perhaps the most effective aspect is the teacher guides, which provide lesson plans, objectives based on social studies standards, and well-designed assessments, along with many other useful tools for teachers. This would be a wonderful addition to a social studies methods class.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The Webquest is easy to use and navigate through. The buttons are labeled, and it is easy to move around within the site. There are tabs and menus that allow the user to go back and forth from beginning to end.
The site uses images of real children, of both European and Native American descent which make it easy for children to relate to either group.
Older students (perhaps high school) may find the content interesting, but the images may not be as appropriate for their age group.
Other Issues and Comments:
Students in Teacher Education would find this site very useful as well.
The teacher guides are very well developed, and would serve as an excellent guide for lesson planning and aligning standards, objectives and assessments.