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Thanksgiving Is for Social Studies
posted by: Melissa | November 14, 2017, 06:35 PM   

Numerous studies over the past few years have shown that knowledge about American history and civics is declining. Yet, despite widespread acknowledgment of the problem, little is being done to put Social Studies front and center in schooling. The subject is so often drowned out by the constant drumbeat to raise test scores and the pressing need for greater STEM education.


Thanksgiving is the time of year when you can change all that. This holiday, so firmly rooted in our country’s history, is the perfect time to teach about the founding of our nation, the great men who have led it over the past few centuries, and the beliefs that those men held dear. There is much to delve into during the study of this holiday that goes far beyond handprint turkeys and Native American head pieces made from paper. Students can do everything from examining the role that religion played in our country’s early years to studying how the holiday has changed and evolved as our country changed and evolved.


While there are many lessons you could teach, consider these as a starting point:


The First Thanksgiving: Grades 3-5 (Scholastic)

The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States (Library of Congress)

Thanksgiving in the Time of Lincoln (Eastern Illinois University)

Pilgrims, the Mayflower Compact, and Thanksgiving (Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 (MountVernon.org)


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