Back to Projects

First Thanksgiving Cards

School: Alice B. Beal Elementary

City/State: Springfield, MA

Grade(s): 3

Format(s): Note cards

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

As part of a Learning Expedition about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians, 3rd graders from the Alice B. Beal Elementary Magnet School in Springfield, Massachusetts created these note cards.

A case study investigation within this Learning Expedition focused on the “real” story of the first Thanksgiving, using multiple perspectives from varied texts, including primary source materials, and local experts to dispel myths and provide a more accurate portrayal. 

Each card contains a student’s original artwork, which depicts an aspect of either Wampanoag or Pilgrim culture and/or history. The student-written text on the back of each card describes the relevance of the illustration and contributes to a bigger picture understanding of story behind the first Thanksgiving.

The note cards were bundled together and sold as gift boxes. The cards also became part of a service project: baskets of food were made by a local organization for families in need at Thanksgiving; a box set of these cards was included as a gift for each family.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A product that through the range of cards within the set shows the learning of the whole class – no one card tells the whole story it by itself
  • Exemplifies careful drawings by 3rd grade students – see illustration of Pilgrims playing games (page 3) – notice details regarding dress as well as how the drawing expertly shows active, not static poses
  • Written descriptions show evidence of multiple drafts – well formed, interesting paragraphs with obvious relation to the illustrations
  • Unique format that nicely shows student’s knowledge of both historical, as well as cultural, information
  • A creative and effective format to address and deepen content required in state curriculum frameworks and district science requirements
  • A thoughtful service project that could be done anywhere in the U.S.
Back to Projects