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Americanism        Next >

 

A Modern-Day Mayflower

 

Today's Snack: In honor of the 102 Pilgrims who came to what is now America on the Mayflower, count out 102 (shelled) sunflower seeds, and while you're munching them, think about how the Pilgrims were like "seeds" for this nation. How can YOU be a "seed" for the U.S.A. of the future?

 

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Paper and pencil

 

 

The Mayflower was the sailing ship that transported 102 Pilgrims from England to the New World, landing in Plymouth, Mass., in November 1620.

 

Most everybody knows that. A lot of people know that it took 66 days to travel the 3,000 miles, and that space was very cramped on the ship, which measured about 100 feet long by 25 feet wide.

 

But did you know the Mayflower was never meant to transport passengers?

 

Instead of humans, it usually took goods from England to France, and wine back to England.

 

Did you know the ship's doctor was Dr. Heale?

 

What's a fo'c'sle?

 

Did you know a violent mid-ocean storm knocked the ship off course, and instead of landing in Virginia with its moderate weather, the Pilgrims literally settled for, and settled in, cold and wintry Massachusetts, by mistake?

 

You can learn a lot more about that first American epic, the Mayflower, by browsing through the websites, below. Take notes! When you feel you know enough about the Mayflower's voyage, here's an offbeat assignment:

 

Invent a New World for the 21st Century - a brand-new continent which suddenly sprang up out of the ocean.

 

Write down:

 

        what the land is like

 

        what animals and plants are there

 

        how people there might get their food

 

        what their homes are like and how they made them

 

        what plants and animals are there

 

        what the water source is

 

        whether there are humans already living there.

 

Now come up with a name for a new Mayflower - a modern-day ship. Describe the ship. Draw a picture of it with colored pencils.

 

You get to send a boatload of Americans to this new land to populate it, the way the Mayflower populated the newborn colony in America.

 

Who would you include among the first 102 people? Think about the kinds of skills and personalities it would be good to include in a brand-new society.

 

Write down real names of people, or the types of jobs or skills they might have. You know: "a rock star," "a farmer," "a carpenter," "my soccer coach," and so on. Your list may or may not include your own family, friends, classmates and teammates; it's up to you.

 

Make your "passenger list" for a modern-day Mayflower, and then write a story about the journey there, and the settlement's first year.

 

Here are those Mayflower and First Thanksgiving websites to give you some ideas about the real Pilgrims who came to America, and the imaginary ones you're going to invent:

 

http://www.abcteach.com/directory/seasonalholidays/thanksgiving/

 

http://teacher.scholastic.com/thanksgiving/index.htm

 

http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/History/mflower1.php

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Americanism 01 2008

 

 

 

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