Document Type



This educational and historical research is based on teaching accurate and age-appropriate history to elementary students. Unfortunately, instead of true history elementary schoolers are often taught myths, to avoid teaching children about the embarrassing and gruesome parts of United States history. When history is not taught truthfully, it can perpetuate stereotypes and leave students confused when they reach secondary and higher education and discover that some of what they know is incorrect. The purpose of this project is to investigate what really happened at the 1621 Harvest Feast and its evolution into the holiday that is celebrated today, assess how to teach this information to children based on developmental appropriateness, and create lesson plans for teachers to do so. First, the research in this thesis consists of exploring the actual historical events of the 1621 Harvest Feast, through primary and secondary historical documents. Second, I examine how Thanksgiving is currently taught at the 3rd grade level, by reading teaching materials and books used in third grade classroom and examining the data gathered from an anonymous survey sent to Massachusetts teachers. This research has implications for not only how history is taught to elementary students and for helping teachers figure out how to do that, but also argues for a change in elementary education that can positively change the United States’ and cultural ideas of Thanksgiving.


Early Childhood Education and History

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Jo Hoffman, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Ian Saxine, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Joyce Rain Anderson, Committee Member
Dr. Jeanne Carey Ingle, Committee Member
Dr. Thomas G. Nester, Committee Member