Student time travelers get Thanksgiving lesson

Students in Heather Brown’s first grade class at Elizabeth Shelton School traveled back to 1620 right in their own classroom last week.

Fellow teachers, and ship captain, Christine Butler led the students on a voyage on the Mayflower, which carried the Pilgrims across the Atlantic Ocean. The PowerPoint presentation offered the first graders a glimpse of the rough seas on which ships sailed. Then, after some two months at sea, Butler told the students how the Pilgrims landed off the shores of what is now Cape Cod, Mass.

Butler talked about what it was like for the Pilgrims and native Americans to meet for the first time, and what the first Thanksgiving meant then and now.

“Our focus was discussing what life was like around the time of the first Thanksgiving,” said Brown, who, along with Butler, wore some traditional hats of the time as students walked into class through a large cardboard Mayflower.

“We wanted to create a lesson that would provide students with some hands-on learning experiences to help give some meaning to what they were learning,” added Brown.

Brown said the lesson began with imagining that the students were on the Mayflower. The presentation went on to show students what it would have been like to be a Pilgrim and take that 66-day voyage. The teachers then wanted the students to work together as if they were Pilgrims and native Americans meeting for the first time.