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Proud Pilgrim Hats

Investigate the authentic clothing worn by European immigrants to North America; then create historically accurate hats to wear in reenactments.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Invite students research information about the immigrants from cities in Europe who came to the Wampanoag village of Patuxet, Massachusetts in 1620. The clothing they brought with them was mostly wool and linen, with some leather. These immigrants wore reds, yellows, purples, and greens, as well as blacks and grays. Their hats were simple, with no buckles or bows. Men's hats were usually felt, shaped like an angular bell. The women's hats, called coifs, were gathered circles of linen, which covered their hair. Once students have completed their research, they will be making replicas of the hats.
    2. To create a replica of an authentic Plymouth colonist man's hat with paper maché, students tear several long strips of recycled newspaper. Students also cover their work areas with more recycled newspaper. Mix equal amounts of Crayola® School Glue and water in a recycled container.
    3. Cover another hat-sized recycled container such as a plastic ice cream tub with a damp paper towel. Dip newspaper strips into the glue mixture, and wipe away the excess. Drape strips over the tub, letting them spread onto the table to make a brim. Cover the entire tub. Use more strips to coat the perimeter and brim of the hat. Smooth out the strips as they are applied. Dry between each two or three layers. Trim the hat with Crayola Scissors, leaving a broad brim.
    4. To design a lady's coif, students crumple a large ball of newspaper to use as a form. Saturate two half-sheets of newspaper with the paper maché glue mixture. Drape the wet paper over the crumpled ball. Secure it in place with string around the outer edge. Dry. Trim the edges in a circle.
    5. Students paint both hats with Crayola Tempera Paints. Dry.
    6. In an attempt to re-enact understanding of life in 17th-century Massachusetts, students collect appropriate props and wear their Proud Pilgrim Hats during presentations.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about an deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner; If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern

    Students work in teams to conduct an in-depth investigation of the immigrants who can to be known as Pilgrims. What motivated these people to come to America? What did they learn from the Native Americans in the era, including the Wampanoag and Massachuset Indians that helped them to survive?

    Students use recycled materials to create authentic costumes in order to participate in a play about life among the immigrants and indigenous American peoples.

    Students work in small groups to compose an original play about colonial times. Students use their costumes when performing the plays for classmates, parents, etc.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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