Grade: Elementary
Subject: History

#2013. Columbus- Thanksgiving lesson plan

History, level: Elementary
Posted Wed Nov 15 20:23:11 PST 2000 by Brian Pilkerton (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana Pa, U.S.
Materials Required: wax paper, crayons, markers, bed sheet, iron, construction paper
Activity Time: 5 Days
Concepts Taught: Teaching students about these holidays

Columbus-Thanksgiving Lesson Plan


In this lesson plan the student well learn not only a history lesson of Thanksgiving, but they will also work on an art activity. The students will first learn some important facts about Columbus's expedition. They will not only learn about the exploration of the "New World" but they will learn about the first Thanksgiving. The one group will learn about the exploration and the other will learn about the first Thanksgiving. They will then switch topics so they learn both parts. After learning the facts they will in a group decide on what they want as part of their mural. The students will each make a picture that will be apart of the mural.

*Web sites
The teacher to make up the information sheets that the students will use will use these resources.

1. Information sheets about the exploration of the "New World" and the first Thanksgiving.
2. Wax paper
3. Crayons
4. Markers (used for detail)
5. White Bedspread sheet
6. Iron
7. Construction paper

The first step of this lesson is that the teacher will gather some important facts about Columbus Day and the first Thanksgiving. The teacher will then give the students an information sheet that describes some of the important events and facts for these two events.

Lesson Body
(Day 1) The students will then divide into two and work with one topic and make a web of what they want to put on their mural. The groups will then switch topics and do the same thing. They will make a web to see if they think that the other group may have missed something important. The next step has the teacher make two webs on the board that come from the ideas of the groups. This will help to see if either group may have missed anything and may cause the students to think of some other ideas by what they heard from the other group. (Day 2) As a group the students will decide what they think are important parts of these two events and make a list of what they want on their mural. After they have came up with the important parts each student will pick one idea and will try to come up with a drawing that idea. The students will then use the wax paper and crayons to make their drawing. They will have to make the drawings dark so that they can be placed on the white sheet. (Day 3) The students will work on finishing up any details that they want in their drawings. Next, as a group they will work on organizing the mural and by deciding where each drawing will go. The can put the drawings anywhere or they can also arrange them to try to explain some important events. This will depend on the grade level of the students. (Day 4) This day the teacher will have to be involved a lot so know one gets hurt. The students and teacher will then use an iron to copy the pictures onto the sheet. This is done by placing the wax paper on the sheet and construction paper on top of that so that the wax paper does not melt. The side that was colored on must be laid on the sheet so that the color transfers. This will take about a minute for each drawing. The students will then use crayons to add in some background to the mural. This could be the ground, sky, or anything else that is needed. This will colored directly on the mural.

(Day 5) The students will hang up their mural in the hallway so that it can be displayed. After hanging up the mural there will be a small party that the children can dress up for. They could dress up as an Indian or as a Pilgrim. The students will discuss what they have learned from the lesson while they enjoy some treats that they brought in.

The students will be evaluated on their art drawing and also their help with the background.