7th Grade New York

Pilgrims and Wampanoag

In this inquiry, students investigate one of the best-known stories in American history—the interaction between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags that included the first Thanksgiving. The compelling question “Why did the Pilgrim–Wampanoag friendship go so wrong?” focuses on how the relationship between Native Americans and European settlers deteriorated over time. The Pilgrims’ initial contact with the Wampanoags in the winter of 1621 was not the first time Europeans and Native Americans met, but the interactions that followed have become a central part of the narrative of American history. As they complete this inquiry, students learn more about the history of colonial and Native American relations by responding to the compelling question with an argument about how the interactions between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags changed over time.

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Compelling Question:

Why Did the Pilgrim–Wampanoag Friendship Go So Wrong?

Staging the Question: Using a painting to spark interest, record prior knowledge about the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag, and the positive and negative Pilgrim–Wampanoag interactions.
1

Supporting Question What was the early contact like between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags?

Formative Task Write a first-person account from the perspective of a Pilgrim and/or a Wampanoag man or woman about their early contact in 1621.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Maps and illustrations of “Pilgrim Village”
Source B: Excerpts from Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth
Source C: Illustrations of Samoset meeting the Pilgrims

2

Supporting Question How did the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags cooperate in the early years after first contact?

Formative Task Create an annotated illustration that highlights how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags cooperated in the early years after their first contact.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth
Source B: Excerpt from Of Plymouth Plantation
Source C: Excerpt from Of Plymouth Plantation

3

Supporting Question How did the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags move from cooperation to conflict?

Formative Task Make a claim supported by evidence about whether or not the conflicts could have been avoided from the perspective of the Pilgrims and/or the Wampanoags.

Sources Source A: Chart of population of the New England Colonies, 1620–1750
Source B: Image bank: Maps of 17th-century Plymouth settlements
Source C: Excerpts from A Relation of the Indian War
Source D: Map of King Philip’s War

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Why did the Pilgrim–Wampanoag friendship go so wrong? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that discusses the deteriorating relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Create a graphic short story that illustrates an argument for how and why the Pilgrim and Wampanoag relationship deteriorated over time, including supporting and counterevidence from a variety of sources.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Research (e.g. examine online sources, interview an expert, contact someone from a Native American group) the point of view of a modern indigenous group that is fighting for its rights.
Assess: Explore whether or not conflict can be avoided in the situation you examined.
Act: Create a video, Facebook page, or website that argues for or against the merits of the group’s struggle and present the product at a classroom or community event.