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Lesson Plans
Comparing & Contrasting: Thanksgiving Then and Now
1st–2nd Grade
Objectives Objectives
  • Students will compare and contrast the First Thanksgiving to modern celebrations of Thanksgiving.
  • Students will understand how to use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two events.

Materials Materials Needed
Introduction Introduction

Ask volunteers to share how they celebrate Thanksgiving (e.g., eat turkey, have dinner with family, watch football, travel to a relative’s home, give thanks for blessings, play games, etc.). Record some of their contributions on chart paper.

Procedure Procedure

  1. Tell students that you are going to read aloud a story of the First Thanksgiving. Invite students to pay attention to the food, the way it was prepared, the guests who were present, the clothing they wore, and the entertainment they enjoyed.
  2. Read aloud Oh, What a Thanksgiving! by Steven Kroll.
  3. After you have read the story, invite volunteers to share their observations of how the First Thanksgiving that David visualizes in the story is different from or similar to the way we celebrate Thanksgiving today.
  4. Draw a Venn diagram on chart paper and record students’ observations to compare and contrast the two events. For example, in the “Then” circle, you might write “Pilgrims and Indians together.” In the “Now” circle, you might write “watch football on TV.” In the intersecting portion of the circles, you might write “People give thanks.”

Independent Practice Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a copy of the “Thanksgiving Then and Now” matchbook reproducible.
  2. Have students cut along the dotted line and fold along the solid lines to assemble the matchbook.
  3. Prompt students to use crayons or markers to draw a picture of Thanksgiving long ago on the left side. Then invite them to draw a picture of Thanksgiving as they celebrate it today on the right side.
  4. Have students lift the flap beneath the illustrations and write a sentence that describes each scene. You can have younger students copy a sentence frame and fill in the blanks. (For example, “At the First Thanksgiving, _______________.” And “Today, we celebrate by ______________________.”)
  5. Invite students to share their sentences as they reflect on the different ways we celebrate Thanksgiving.

the 1st–2nd Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)




Social Studies

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