Pilgrims introduces students to the Pilgrims, the group of people who settled in America in the 1600s. Students will learn about what they ate, how they lived, and how the Native Americans helped them survive their early days in America.

Other options for your lesson can be found in the “Options for Lesson” section on the classroom procedure page. These optional additions include allowing students to draw their own pictures related to the Pilgrims, bringing in food for a post-harvest meal with students at the end of the lesson, or expanding the lesson with Thanksgiving-themed activities.

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What our Pilgrims lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Pilgrims teaches students about who the Pilgrims were and what their life was like in America. During this lesson, students will learn about the ships that the Pilgrims used to cross the Atlantic Ocean, why they left Europe, and about their relationship with the Native Americans who were already living on the land that they settled on. This lesson is for students in the 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, you will need colored pencils and the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. For the Pilgrims lesson plan, these options include allowing students to draw pictures related to the pilgrims instead of just coloring them in, showing a video for the end of the lesson, or bringing in food for students to share as a part of the conclusion of the lesson. You could also teach this lesson during Thanksgiving, and expand on it with other Thanksgiving-themed activities. Students can also make Pilgrims hats or make a replica of the Mayflower using craft sticks or toothpicks.

Teacher Notes

The Teacher Notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This paragraph suggests additional lesson plans to pair with this lesson, and describes some of the additional resources that you can use to go along with this lesson. There is also ample space for you to add your own notes about the lesson.


The Pilgrims

This lesson includes four content pages. The first few pages describe the history of the Pilgrims and how a group of them came to settle in America. Students will learn what a colony is and about the voyage that ships like the Mayflower took across the Atlantic Ocean during this time. They will learn that this specific group of people left Europe for America in search of religious freedom, as they were persecuted for their beliefs at home. They began their journey in September of 1620 and finally arrived in December.

Students then learn about the Mayflower Compact and the colony that the Pilgrims established in Massachusetts. This Compact was an agreement about how the colony would be run, and, among other things, stated that the colonists were loyal to the King of England and that everyone would work for the good of the colony as a whole. This part of the lesson also describes how the Pilgrims decided on where their settlement would be. They chose Plymouth, which is in what is now the state of Massachusetts. The first winter that the Pilgrims endured was harsh and many of them didn’t survive.

This sections also details what their relationship with the Native Americans was like when they arrived and what the Native Americans taught the settlers so they could survive. The Native Americans were already living on the land that the Pilgrims settled when they arrived. They later established a peace treaty with the Pilgrims. The first Thanksgiving, which happened after the first harvest in 1621, is also described.

Life for the Pilgrims

The final section of the content pages describes what life was like for the Pilgrims. It explains what their homes were made out of, what they ate, how their villages were structured, and the work that they had to do on a daily basis. Houses were made of timber frames and were simple structures with a main living room and a loft for sleeping in. Their villages were made up of homes with additional space for livestock and crops. The clothes that they wore were made by hand and dyed using natural dyes made from plants, animals, and minerals. The Pilgrims mostly ate duck, seafood, mussels, cornbread, and oatmeal, which they all ate with their hands as they did not have utensils at this time.

Students will learn that life was not easy for the Pilgrims, but that their struggle was worth it so that they could freely practice their religion. Students will also understand that this was the beginning of the United States of America as they know it today, growing from this settlement to the 13 colonies to the 50 states we have today.

Key Terms

Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:

  • Pilgrims: A group of travelers leaving Europe to seek religious freedom.
  • Colony: Set up by a group of people traveling from the same country.
  • Mayflower: The ship that carried the Pilgrims to America.
  • Mayflower Compact: The agreement signed by the Pilgrims about their colony.
  • Plymouth Colony: The place where the Pilgrims built their village.
  • Native Americans: People already living on the land before the Pilgrims arrived.
  • Atlantic: The name of the ocean the Pilgrims crossed.
  • Christians: The religion of the Pilgrims.
  • England: The place where the Pilgrims came from.
  • Thanksgiving: This feast took place following the first harvest.
  • Religious: The type of freedom the Pilgrims were in search of.
  • Massachusetts: Name of the state where the first colony was built.
  • 102: Number of people leaving England to sail for America.
  • 1620: The year the Pilgrims left England.
  • 1621: The year of the first Thanksgiving feast.


The Pilgrims lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Students will complete all of these worksheets on their own. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the activity pages, students are asked to fill in the blanks in statements about the pilgrims, such as “The _____ left Europe for America in 1620 and set up a colony called ________” and “The Pilgrims were taught by the Native _____ to hunt, fish, plant corn, and survive the cold _____”. Students will also color in the Pilgrim-related pictures, like a cornucopia and a Pilgrim hat. If you’d like to use the suggestion from the Options for Lesson section to have students draw their own Pilgrim-related pictures in addition to coloring them in, this worksheet would be a great time to have them do that.


Students will match statements about the Pilgrims with their correct terms. These terms include the Mayflower Compact, Plymouth Colony, and Thanksgiving. They also include important dates and numbers, like 1620 and 102, the number of people who left England to sail for America. This worksheet will test students’ grasp of the important terms and dates explored in this lesson.


For the homework assignment, students will answer questions about the Pilgrims. These questions ask about the things they did in their homes, some things that are located in their villages, what food they ate, and how the children of this time learned to read and write. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the lesson material with this homework assignment.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson includes answer keys for the activity worksheet, practice worksheet, and homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade


Social Studies, Video

State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.4

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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The Pilgrims

Excellent! I’m glad I found amazing content.

Andrea C.

Excellent Resource for Massachusetts SS teachers!!

I was just thrown into teaching 3rd grade SS remotely halfway through the year with ZERO resources. This provides grade appropriate information, and the activity pages are "just enough". It's the best thing I've found yet....without shelling out more $$$.

Dominic S.

13 Orginal Colonies

The item was concise and full of fun activities.

Dorothy S.

Good Resource

This is an excellent resource for those of us who are now doing home school. Lots of topics.

Claire D.

Perfect for ESL adults

The materials were clearly laid out and full of accurate historical information. The grade level was perfect for my English language adult learners.