Michigan Agriscience Education

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Michigan Agriscience Education

For Elementary Students

Grades 3-4


he First Thanksgiving


Have students draw a picture of what they thought the first thanksgiving looked like and what their family thanksgiving looks like.


"The First Thanksgiving" was really a party. That’s right! The Pilgrims threw a party to celebrate all the good food they grew during the summer. When the Pilgrims lived in England, they always had a party to celebrate a good harvest. Everyone did.

When the Pilgrims had their first harvest party (Thanksgiving) in America, it was extra special. Why? Because they had to work extra hard to have grow food in a new land. They didn’t know what kinds of plants would grow in America. They didn’t know when was a good time to plant the seeds. How would they ever grow enough food to feed everyone?

A Native American named Squanto helped the Pilgrims. He taught them how to plant corn, squash, and other foods. He even taught them how to bury a dead fish next to the corn plant for fertilizer. Fertilizer is like vitamins for plants.

The crops grew big and strong. Squanto helped the Pilgrims again. He showed them how to harvest the crops and turn them into food.

Yeah! There was enough food for the Pilgrims to eat all winter long.

The Pilgrims decided to have the party to celebrate all that food. The party was the first American Thanksgiving! The party was three days long! How long is your Thanksgiving Day celebration?

The food you eat on Thanksgiving probably wasn’t the food the Pilgrims ate. They didn’t get their food from the same place we do either. The Pilgrims ate:

Food They Hunted  

  • Fish

  • Eel

  • Clams

  • Lobsters

  • Wild turkey

  • Goose

  • Duck

  • Venison (deer)

Food They Found

  • Strawberries

  • Grapes

  • Cherries

  • Blueberries

  • Walnuts

  • Chestnuts

  • Acorns

Food They Grew

  • Squashes

  • Pumpkins

  • Beans

  • Indian corn

  • Wheat flour  

They invited Massasoit and many other members of the Wampanoag Native American tribe. Massasoit was a chief or sachem (SAY-chum). Who are you inviting to your Thanksgiving dinner?  


When Pilgrims went to the Thanksgiving party, this is the type of hat they wore. It doesn’t look like a party hat to us. Does it look like a party hat to you? Draw a picture of a party hat you think the Pilgrims should have worn. Since the party was about food, why not draw pictures of food on your hat.  

Can You Answer These Questions? Make a loud turkey gobble sounds for every right answer!

  •  What do you eat on Thanksgiving Day?

  • How is it different from the food the Pilgrims ate? How is it the same?

  • The fruit the Pilgrims ate would have been dried fruit.  Why?

  • We go to the grocery store for our food.  Why couldn't the Pilgrims do the same thing?

  • Where does the food in the grocery store come from?

* Original can be found at Illinois Ag in the Classroom, www.agintheclassroom.org

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