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Lesson Plan for Thanksgiving: A Differentiated Lesson Plan

A Web Search for an Inclusive Classroom


A web search is an ideal way for special education students to work with their general education peers. This web search focuses on the history of Thanksgiving than on religious beliefs or religious practices.

Lesson Plan: History of Thanksgiving

Student Level: Grades 3 and up. Could be a partner activity for teens and their typical peer mentors.


  • Students will use a computer search engine to answer social studies content questions.
  • Students will recall facts about the history of Thanksgiving.
  • Students will collaborate on a group activity.


New York Social Studies Standard 1: Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York. Check your own state's standards for a similar standard.

Timeline: A single 45 minute period.


  • A large paper chart or a write on board, markers.
  • The question sheet that follows.
  • The computer lab, unless your classroom has enough computers for teams of 3 or 4 to each use a computer.


Assess prior knowledge: Do a KWL Chart.

Prepare for the search:

  • Have groups highlight the key words in the questions that will help them find their answers.
  • Discuss and assign roles: Recorder, searcher, and facilitator. The Recorder will record the answers, the searcher will type in the search words (a great role for the learning disabled kid, since they will practice typing in the words) and the facilitator will help both of his or her partners fulfill their roles, and read the web pages: a role for the strongest student.?li>

    Supervise the searches:

    If you have a group fighting, send them back to a designated desk cluster or table, give them a pep talk, review the rules, and let them go back.

    Regroup and Report:

    Have the groups report back with their answers.


    A fill in the blank quiz with a word bank for the regular ed students.

    A matching activity for the learning disabled.

    The Questionaire:

    Thanksgiving Search Engine Scavenger Hunt.

    1. When and where was the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving Feast?(1621, Plymouth Plantation)
    2. Who did the Pilgrim's invite? (The Wapanoag Indians)
    3. Was it really the first Thanksgiving? (No. See Wikipedia: Thanksgiving-United States)
    4. Which President first declared a day of Thanksgiving? (George Washington in 1789.)
    5. When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday? (1941)
    6. Besides working hard to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, what was Sarah Josepha Hale's best known work of poetry? (Mary Had Little Lamb)
    7. What Presidents declared a National Day of Thanksgiving? (Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt)
    8. Where is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? (New York City)
    9. Find the name of another American City with a Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Detroit)
    10. When is Canada's Thanksgiving Day? October 10, 2009 (2nd Monday in October)

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