Unit Title: National Holidays- columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day Grade Level

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Unit Title: National Holidays- Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day

Grade Level: Kindergarten

Lesson Title: Columbus Day- Columbus’s 3 Ships; Review

Curriculum Areas Addressed: Social Studies, Language Arts

Time Required: 30-45 minutes

Instructional Groupings: Whole group; Small groups


SSKH1 The student will identify the purpose of national holidays and describe the people or events celebrated.

b. Columbus Day (Christopher Columbus)

ELACCKRL1: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

ELACCKSL2: Confirm understanding of written texts read aloud or information presented orally or through media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

As a result of this lesson/unit students will…


By understanding the significance of Columbus Day, students will learn to respect and honor Christopher Columbus.

Through their understanding of the significance of Columbus Day, students will become respectful members of their communities.


How did Christopher Columbus get to the Americas?

What were the names of the three ships Columbus sailed on?

Why/when/how do we celebrate Columbus Day?


“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”

Christopher Columbus set sail with three ships- the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

Columbus sailed West to try to find a new route to Asia- however, he discovered the Americas.

In October (on the second Monday) we remember Columbus’s first trip to the Americas.

We celebrate Columbus Day with parades.

Do (Skills): Identify, list, recognize, recall, create, design, discuss

Steps in the Lesson: Include the attention getter or the hook for the lesson, the introduction, the lesson procedures including ideas for wholeclass, small group, and individual instructions; differentiated activities

Attention Getter or Hook:

Draw Columbus’s three ships on the whiteboard. Have the students discuss with a neighbor why they believe the ships on are the board- allow the students to share their answers with the class.

The teacher will also be wearing a Christopher Columbus sailor’s hat to grab the students’ attention. Let the students know they will be receiving their own sailor hat at the end of the lesson.


Explain to the students that today they will be specifically learning about Christopher Columbus’s ships.

Ask the students if they know how many ships Columbus sailed on, or the names of the ships.

Call on any student that raises his/her hand

Tell the students that during this lesson they will be singing a song about Columbus, completing a fun worksheet, and making their own ships out of construction paper or food

Body or Procedures:

Read the book, Young Christopher Columbus Discoverer of the New World by Eric Carpenter- tell the students to listen for the names of Columbus’s ships

Review who Christopher Columbus is, and why he is important to us

Ask the students some questions about the read aloud:

How did Columbus get to the Americas?

How many ships did he sail on?

What were the names of Columbus’s three ships?

Which directions did Columbus sail- North, South, East, or West?

Discuss these answers as a class- make sure the students identified the names of the ships- the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

Teach the students a song to help them better remember:

Christopher Columbus was a brave and mighty sailor.

He sailed west instead of east he was a great explorer.

Nina, Pinta, were 2 ships, Santa Maria too.

Christopher please don’t turn back,

America waits for you!”

*Add movements if there is time

Have students complete “The Way Columbus Came” worksheet:

Before the students begin, review once again how Columbus sailed to the west (point to the west arrow on the worksheet)

Have the students cut out Columbus’s three ships

Tell the students to glue the ships in a row towards the west- assist any students who needs help

Once the students have completed the worksheet, instruct them to put it in the front of the room to dry
Explain to the students that they will now be making their own ships- each student will choose whether they want to make it with construction paper or food: divide them into small groups depending on their answers

Making ships out of food:

Each student will receive a peanut-butter sandwich (cut diagonally in half)

The students will insert pretzel sticks in the cut edge of the sandwich

Then they will add rectangular pieces of white bread into the sticks to represent the sail

Making ships out of construction paper:

Students will be given a pattern of the boat- the bottom and the sail

Instruct the students to cut each piece out

Have the students glue a popsicle stick to the back of the bottom of the boat (the stick should show over the boat)

Allow the students to glue the sail to the top of the stick
Review the names of the ships and why they are important.

Closure/Wrap up:

Review as a class why Columbus Day is so important

Ask the students: Why do we celebrate Columbus Day (because we honor the day America was discovered), When do we celebrate it (the second Monday in October), How do we celebrate it (with parades).
Allow the students to recall some facts about Christopher Columbus himself- call on any student who raises his/her hand
Sing the Columbus song one more time

Give each student their own Columbus sailor hat (pre-made)

What will I differentiate? Content/Process/Product

The way students will learn about Columbus’s three ships; the way the students will create their own ships

How will I differentiate?

Students will be able to learn about Columbus’s ships in many ways- listening to the story, through discussion, and by singing a song

Students will have a choice when making their ships- hands on activities
Higher-level students: Allow these students to illustrate their own ships by drawing on a sheet of white paper, encourage them to write the names of the ships

Lower-level students: provide scaffolding when creating ships- provide wait time when they are answering questions

Musical learners- song

Audio learners- book

Visual/Kinesthetic learners- creating the ships

How will I differentiate for featured student 1? Provide simple directions; provide examples of the ships; allow him to sit back while singing the song (shy); make sure he understands the directions before starting

How will I differentiate for featured student 2? Allow her to be front and center when singing the song (loves to sing/dance); guide her when creating the ships; make sure she does not distract others around her (if she does, allow her to create her ships away from other students)


Formative assessment: Student Answers, Observation/ Discussion

Listen to student answers when they are asked a question (students will need to answer these questions correctly); before the students go home, have each student list Columbus’s three ships (students should answer Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria)

Self-assessment: “Gimme Five”

At the end of the lesson, students will hold up a number of fingers depending how much they understand before going on to the activity:

1 finger- I don’t know it at all

2 fingers- I’m learning it, but I’m still not sure

3 fingers- I’m ready to try it, but may need help getting through it

4 fingers- I’m ready to do it on my own

5 fingers- I know it! I can help someone

Materials, Additional Resources, and Background Information:


Book: Young Christopher Columbus Discoverer of the New World by Eric Carpenter

“The Way Columbus Came” worksheet

Construction paper

Popsicle sticks

Bread/peanut butter/pretzels



Sailor hats
Background Information:



Clear Links to Theories:

Howard Garner- multiple intelligences for each learner: Visual, Kinesthetic, Verbal/Linguistic
Montessori Method- Hands-on learning: creating ships

Connections to Technology and/or the Arts:

Arts: Creating Columbus’s ships out of food or construction paper

Music: Columbus Song

Description of Collaboration with Others: My host teacher and paraprofessional will help with small groups (creating the ships)

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