Sunday, October 17, 2010

Plymouth Colony Unit

I've been adjusting my lesson plans for this unit as we go through them. We've had lots of illness and life interruptions and so this unit is taking longer than I had expected to work through. So we're still in process and the plans aren't what they might have been but I wanted to post them anyway. Some of these were typed in future tense and then modified in past tense so the tenses may switch around mid lesson unintentionally.

In our history sequence this unit followed the Wampanoag Unit but the two could have easily been combined into one unit.

Lesson 1--The Journey

I began with a general "why and how it started" history of the journey the pilgrims made.

The websites I’m linking in the following lessons do a very nice job with all except the motivation for the journey.

A friend loaned me the book If You Sailed on the Mayflower which I used for the background and information parts of this unit. I suspect many library systems have it. This book would be great for this particular lesson I suspect. However, I found this wonderful colonial unit which has a “main points” section for each lesson that provide you with all the information you would need if books aren't available. Lesson 2 for example gives what you might want to use to introduce why the pilgrims left just like the book linked above.

After that brief introduction we’re going to explore the Mayflower and how it felt to make this long journey.

We'll explore the ship using the tour the ship portion of this site. As we view particular areas we will "experience" the Mayflower using activities from Lesson 2 of these plans. My kids like the back and forth but another child might be better served going through all the site and then experiencing it with the activities. Examples:

1. After the section covering food we discussed the food and why it was either salted or dried. We talked about spoilage and shortages as the journey went on. Then I planned to sample jerky, dried fruit (prunes), and cheese. Hardtack would work well here. This website contains a hardtack recipe. I did not use hardtack in this unit as it "shows up" in many units we'll be covering beyond this such as the Revolutionary and even Civil wars. I actually did this section last even though, I believe, it is number two on the diagram.

Note: The cook fed the crew but did not make food for the passengers based on my research. So I believe this site is incorrect in that area. They cooked when possible and otherwise ate food that didn't need to be cooked. I used these interviews for my own research as they were by people from and I know they are knowledgeable. They might be nice for an older child to use directly in some way.

2. As the site talked about the living conditions we first recreated the waves using the activity described in the link with a water bottle and plastic to represent the ship rocking among the waves inside. We talked about how it would feel to be tossed about on the ship and the seasickness.

3. We "experienced" the crowding as described on the link. I adjusted the dimensions provided (8 x 8 feet for 11 people) for our family size.

4. We talked about the fact that there was no room for kids to run. We talked about lots of sitting, little fresh air with the smells, and what they did do to pass time (riddles, singing, maybe marbles or cat's cradle). We sat in our little "ship" portion and tried some of that as we talked. It would be nice to have wave sounds in the background. After we did the unit someone who used these plans told me she cleared out a small closet to use! I really like that idea.

5. This site for Columbus activities has a make a quadrant idea though I didn't do that for this lesson.

6. At the end we talked about the length of the journey and counted 66 days off on the calendar.

Then we made a model of the ship. Options I found for this portion are here:
a black and white three dimensional model
a colorful cut out and paste picture (note: because of the masts this one is more challenging to cut out)
another option is here

Then we watched this link following the journey. A friend told me the intended destination and specifics about how and why they ended up in Massachusetts is unclear and there are many theories. This link says Virgina was the intended destination. Other links that also seem trustworthy will mention the New York (Hudson) area. Lies My Teacher Told Me lays out many possibilities including a hijacking. It's certainly worth reading. Basically, I don't think it's clear though it's presented that way in the link.

We did watch this but only the first half today. I thought it did a nice job of dramatizing the danger and conditions experienced. My boys enjoyed it a lot.

Then we created postcards as if they were passengers on the Mayflower. This is a printable postcard template.

Here is a link to a game. I didn't try it. It did give me an idea just now though. As an alternative to the postcard a child could make their own Mayflower game using this one as a guide but putting events they remember in the spaces. So they could have the beam crack--move back three spaces, get seasick--move back one space, storms stop and sails are opened--move ahead two spaces, etc.

Lesson 2--Arrival and Housing

We talked about the journey from yesterday and then I told the boys we were going to begin to learn about their lives off the ship. First, we listened to talk like a pilgrim here.

Then we watched this video. Note that it covers Plymouth Rock (a Core Knowledge Objective; I presented it as legend as described below) and the Mayflower Compact and leads nicely into talking about their day to day life. That said, it is so fast paced that I didn't find it terribly helpful. That's too bad because it is filmed as a field trip to Plimoth Plantation and so more time and detail would have been neat. If I found something better that would have covered Plymouth Rock in some measure I would have likely used it instead. Here is another video of Plymouth Rock. We didn't use it.

If I were planning this again I might just skip the above video. Too late for this lesson I found this site which I would have likely used in planning if I had found it. This shows pictures of and talks about Plymouth Rock. That would have been all I needed I think. It looks like there is a lot of helpful material on the site.

I explained that Plymouth Rock is a legend which allowed us to review what a legend was and purposes (for lack of a better term) of legends. This purpose was a little different than legends we've explored previously so that was nice. For parent information this radio program on Plymouth Rock is interesting. The link for Plymouth Rock is toward the bottom. Here is an article with a little less specific information and talking more about it’s symbolism.

Then we moved to actual life material. I emphasized that, while the pilgrims likely did not step on Plymouth Rock, we do know they took corn from a Native American storage pit. There is a bit about that here I played along with the perspectives presented to that point. We talked about the viewpoints of Wampanoag vs. Plymouth Colonists for each point and it was a good discussion. If I were planning it again I might have fleshed this out a little maybe be acting out the action and then discussing how it was viewed by both sides. That and interesting information on a variety of topics including housing is from via this site. They talk about the bulrush/cattails/thatch swelling with water and so being waterproof for Wampanoag homes and Pilgrim roofs for example. That site I found too late has housing pictures and information as well.

I read American Pioneers and Patriots, Story of Pioneers in Plymouth because I have that book on hand. Many library books on the topics would do fine here as would just using information and pictures from the internet. I placed Samuel Eaton’s Day and Sarah Morton’s Day on interlibrary loan for example but I got them a little late for our unit.

We’re focusing on housing today which is the theme in the book I’ve got.

Here is a link on housing we viewed and this alone is fine I think especially combined with some discussion.

We made sample Plymouth homes. I really debated on how to approach this. I thought about using those foam mat type pieces to form the frame and then use pipe cleaner "poles" to "raise the walls" as they would have done but ultimately I didn't. I also thought about using actual sticks or rolled paper logs and clay to make a mock chimney as they would have done. That would have been fun I think. I saw an idea to use toothpicks for the thatched roof.

We're extremely busy this week though so instead I just used this pattern adding our windows and doors. The boys enjoyed it even though it wasn't as neat as it could have been.

In most cases they used oiled paper for windows instead of glass. So we made oiled paper for windows. After they dried we held them up to our own windows to compare the sunlight coming through the oiled vs. not oiled paper.

Here is a coloring page of the village.

Lesson 3--Clothing

We viewed the clothing portion of this site.

I planned to use plant based dyes (blueberry, beets, strong tea, and onions) to dye cotton. Well, in our case "painting" on paper towels. There are dye recipes all over the internet but this link contains some. Here are instructions for onion dye.

I found a video of the process involved in getting dressed (at least in the 1770's--so not exactly "right" but close) here. We viewed it because I felt it really cemented the time consuming nature of dressing in those days as well as contrasts well with the Wampanoag dressing process. This site is "colonial" rather than specific to this specific time period and place. I used ideas in this pdf (toward end) to approximate a costume and this seems to have lots of links to possible instructions as well.

My kids like to make and wear hats and I knew the typical “pilgrim hat” was not commonly worn. I found this site about proper clothing that included male hat information. A girl would be easy I think but the making of a male cap which would have been the most commonly worn was beyond what I was willing to tackle. For someone who can sew well it’s probably easy and would be good for kids to help with perhaps! Here is a site that shows how to make the common cap and then another hat that I felt resembled one of the pictures in the previous site. We made one that resembled that hat with construction paper and I felt it worked well.

The boys dressed up and spontaneously named themselves Pilgrims Samuel and Applegate (I have no clue on the Applegate). It occurred to me that to invite a child to come up with a Pilgrim name from the start of this unit might be fun.

I found but didn't use these paper dolls. They aren't exactly "right" in all ways but might be fun to use anyway.

Lesson 4--Chores and Education

We'll view links on chores and school.

Note: Bathing is mentioned on this site in the pot on the chair "clickable" and is worth listening to at some point my opinion. You can also watch the chores (pot on floor) and look at the home interior. The other “clickable” links seemed better suited for a Thanksgiving type discussion. We will talk about the chore that hauling water for a bath would be and why water was precious. This can work in this section. I read that Squanto encouraged the Pilgrims to bathe more often. I imagine they smelled! So this discussion could work in the lesson on Squanto as well.

Our plan is to stuff craft feathers in mini-mattresses. I’m just stitching cloth napkins together. Now that I think of it we should have used the plant dye for these! The pilgrims would have used feathers, corn husks, or even pine needles. We’ll collect some pine needles outside and talk about how much work the collection process would be and talk about how comfortable a pine needle stuffed mattress might be!

Pilgrim boys would work with their father to build the homes and other construction projects so we’re making a birdhouse. I should say my husband and the boys will make a birdhouse. There are lots of plans online and kits to purchase as well. My husband felt this looked doable and inexpensive.

Food prep fits well in this section. I used a “corn” grinding activity on a later day that would work here as would actual dinner prep responsibilities which is what I will do instead.

I’m doing this in a future unit instead but dipped candle making would be fun I think. A friend is cross stitching with her daughter.

I found a recipe for soap making that just called for soap flakes or grating up regular soap as working with lye was well beyond what I am willing to do! For some reason when I link it it doesn't work correctly so I'll just copy and paste and hope it works. I want to provide it because it was a little hard find something I felt comfortable with when planning a later unit.

For the school section we're going to be finding rocks that can be used like chalk.

In later units on the thirteen colonies we'll be making a hornbook and in our constitution unit we'll be making feather quill pins and either of those might be used here for the school section instead. I'll try to link them along with other links at the end of this post.

Lesson 5--Recreation

Obviously, many of these lessons could be done in any order. I did this one out of order because it fit with a particular day we had available.

We viewed the games section here.

Because marbles were common toys, we created marbles with clay. We also played marbles using those I have here since the clay must dry. There are games suggested in that link and in this one and this one and many more.

We played nine man morris (games toward end) and Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Another idea would be to play foxes and geese.

It would be neat to sing the songs they might have sung but I couldn't find any.

This link has outside game ideas (top of page) and this site (toward the end) has lots of both. We did several of them and had a lot of fun.

There are also nice instructions for a whirligig on the first link and I'm sure it's easy to find corn husk doll instructions. We'll be doing things like that in later colonial units. If this were my only unit I would do more at this point. I've linked some other games/toys to make at the end of this unit. I'm using them in later plans but might use them here if I were just planning this unit.

Lesson 6--Pilgrim and Wampanoag Interaction
Here is a virtual field trip produced and recorded last year. This was after I planned the unit so we didn't use it ourselves. We did watch it and honestly I remember it being just ok.

At this point we will review and fill the details in about the Native Americans and particularly Squanto’s help. We have previously finished the book Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims so they have some basis. The book we’re using and, I’d assume, any book on this topic will do this nicely.

We'll watch this clip to start or, maybe, to wrap up this lesson. I like all the background and my boys really enjoyed them. Here is an alternative clip.

Here is an online Squanto story (you may need to refresh the link to begin) we will watch to review. Note: I will review the procedure Squanto shared for planting corn outlined in the Wampanoag unit--Lesson 3.

We’ll talk about how Squanto helped them learn to find food, farm, modify housing and more. I want them to remember that without his help they likely wouldn’t have survived.

I found a science with Squanto activity combined with this plan.

We could make and eat “hasty pudding”. Grinding our own cornmeal would be neat. I think we’ll “grind cornmeal” using rocks and a corn based cereal then we’ll use regular cornmeal for the dish.

Lesson 7 "Thanksgiving"
We may view the remainder of the Wampanoag vs. Pilgrim viewpoints of 1621 on this site.

I’m going to read a book Three Young Pilgrims because I have access to that one. Again, many books would be terrific here.

We'll watch a short series of videos—part 9 is a repeat, then there is a video from another user that is labeled chapter 12 that seems to be the next step and last video combined.

I think we’ll make this little booklet.

We'll view the slideshow here.

The hyperlinks to the three foods on this site contain information about the Harvest Celebration that we think of as the First Thanksgiving.

Compare Thanksgiving foods now and then.

We will have a more legitimate to the time Thanksgiving dinner. Some recipes I plan to use are for stewed pompion and some of these dishes. I plan to use foods my kids don't typically eat.

Extra Things I'm Using Later
These are some links I'm using in other units that might fit here if this were a single unit.

New England Primer with berry ink and quill on coffee or tea stained paper. Links for how to are here and here and here (page 23). I'm using these in later units. Make hornbook. There is so much online. A couple of the links I collected are here and here. We're using this in later units.

You could use wax for sealing a letter.

Very simple model colonial kitchen.

Finally, a couple of game type things we might make at some point: