Lesson 5:
What happened between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans?

Image Credit: http://baharris.org/historicpolandspring/Samoset/SamosetPilgrims.jpg

Grade Level: 3rd

Time Frame: 60 Minutes 

Broad Goals: 


Social Studies Standards:  

State Goal 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

Learning Standard A: Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.

Benchmark 16.A.1b: Ask historical questions and seek out answers from historical sources (e.g., myths, biographies, stories, old photographs, artwork, other visual or electronic sources).  

State Goal 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

Learning Standard A: Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.

Benchmark 16.A.3c: Identify the differences between historical fact and interpretation.  

State Goal 18: Understand social systems, with an emphasis on the United States.

Learning Standard C: Understand how social systems form and develop over time.

Benchmark 18.C.1: Describe how individuals interacted within groups to make choices regarding food, clothing, and shelter. 

National Council for the Social Studies Standards: 

NCSS Standard I – Culture

Early Grades: B. Give examples of how experiences may be interpreted differently by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference 

NCSS Standard I – Culture

Early Grades: E. Give examples and describe the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups. 

NCSS Standard II – Time, Continuity, and Change.

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

NCSS Standard IV– Individual Development & Identity

Early Grades: H. Work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals 

NCSS Standard V– Individuals, Groups, & Institutions

Early Grades: D. Identify and describe examples of tension between and among individuals, groups, or institutions, and how belonging to more than one group can cause internal conflicts. 

Lesson Objective: 

During the lesson students will learn about King Phillips War. Students will know the cause of the war and the effects that the war had on both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. Students will learn what happened to the Wampanoag and Pilgrims after the war, and incorporate it into a timeline.  





Focusing Activity: 

“Today boys and girls we will be learning about what happened between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. As Ms. Morris and I have shared with you in previous lessons, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people did not have a good relationship for forever.  As we are going through our learning today I would like you all to stop periodically and we will fill out a timeline that goes along with our learning. This will help us all have a better understanding of the events that took place. At our National Park, Plimoth Plantation there is a site of the Wampanoag people who will tell stories of their past and present lives today, when a person goes to visit they will be told from the Wampanoag perspective of how it was when the Englishmen first arrived.” 



“The reason it is so important for us to understand the history of the downfall of the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people is because it is something that has had a great impact on the history of the United States. Many people have a lot of misconceptions (misunderstandings) about the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, this is because when we see Thanksgiving portrayed on the television or anywhere else it is seen as a happy and joyous time. No one ever goes much beyond that to tell us the truth. I believe it is very important for all of us to understand the real truth to what happened, and to not only know how it was for the Pilgrims when they first arrived in the New World.”  

Content Knowledge/Instructional Input: 

“Today boys and girls we are going to discover the cause, conflict, and the effects of the fall of the friendship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. We will also take a look at how life was later in the colonies, as well as the Wampanoag people losing their language.” 

“Does anyone have any ideas as to why the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people lost their friendship?” (Students may suggest things such as, they stole their crops, they took each others land, etc.) 

“Those are all wonderful ideas and suggestions, I would like to share with you some very important information about what really happened. It all starts with two men, one was named William Bradford and the other was named Massasoit.” 

“Do you remember who these men are?” (Students may say, YES! We learned about Massasoit in a previous lesson, but I am not so sure who William Bradford is.) 

“Great ideas everyone! You are correct, we did learn about Massasoit in an earlier lesson, Ms. Morris shared that he was the chief of the Wampanoag people and helped to form the peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. But since we are unsure of whom William Bradford is, let me tell you about him. William Bradford was the man who made an exact copy of the Mayflower Contract, this was an important document that the Pilgrims signed while still on the Mayflower coming over to the new world. The Mayflower compact had set out rules for government policies and unity among everyone.” 

Hand out copies of Mayflower Compact. 

“Not only was he present at the signing of the Mayflower Compact, he was also the second Governor of Plymouth after the first, John Carver died. He held the position for 5 years, which were the remaining years of his life.” 

“Three years after William Bradford died (1657), Massasoit died (1660). When each of these two men were gone from the world, trouble began.” 

“Can anyone share with us some thoughts as to why there was trouble caused after these two very important men died?” (Student may suggest that the Pilgrims were upset, as well and the Wampanoag people because of the deaths of their leaders and it caused problems. No one followed the rules after they died. Since the first generation of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag passed on the second generation had trouble getting along.)  

“Great ideas, after William Bradford and Massasoit died, Wamsutta, who was Massasoit’s son took over the land of his people. When this happened, it was known that the first generation of the peace keepers had passed on, and the personal bonds that they were able to maintain peace with were now broken. The Wampanoag’s and Pilgrims who originally kept the peace grew old and died. Even before the deaths of William Bradford and Massasoit there were tensions between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people because they each disagreed with the ways of life of one another. Competition was heating up to find new resources, and the Wampanoag people were fed up with the livestock of the Pilgrims ruining their cornfields. Eventually many natives had to sell their land.”    

“Now, here is where things go really south! In 1662 the colonial people became rude and arrogant and went to a low level to try and gain control and power over the Wampanoag people. The colonists held the new chief, Wamsutta, to gunpoint and took him back to Plymouth. Wamsutta became very ill and died days after his capture. Then Wamsutta’s bother, Metacom (King Philip) became the new leader of the Wampanoag people. The people were very angry at the colonists/Pilgrims for the death of Wamsutta. The causes of the war were many. 

“Can anyone think of some ideas as to why King Philip (Metacom) felt the need to begin a war?” (Some student answers may be, because the Pilgrims took his brother and killed him, the Pilgrims took their land too, and their food.) 

“Those are some very nice answers, the cause of the war was because the Pilgrims who are also known as colonists became greedy for land and they began to treat the natives very poorly. There was also a mysterious murder of John Sassamon, who was a liaison between the Colonists and the Wampanoag people. A liaison is someone who communicates between two groups of people. When Sassamon was killed all of the peace between the two groups was completely shattered. This was when King Philip began the war. It was 1675 when the war broke out and spread to the north and west, threatened New England. It is important to remember that it was bout 50 years after the arrival of the colonists that the troubles began.” 

**I will then go on to read the main highlights of the war to the students, I will make it easier for the students to understand, I will not be reading the following word for word.** 

“King Philip's warriors attacked the town of Swansea in western Plymouth Colony in June of 1675.  Encouraged by success, they carried the war to neighboring Plymouth Colony towns.  In August of 1675, hostilities expanded to the Connecticut River Valley; many settlements were burned.   

**I will have a map of Plymouth Colony to show the students a rough trail that King Philip traveled ** 

In December, Philip's winter quarters in Rhode Island's Great Swamp were destroyed in a crucial colonial victory.  In February of 1676, Native forces swept east; Boston seemed threatened.  War returned to Plymouth Colony, with a raid in Plymouth itself.  Colonists considered abandoning the frontier, but time was on their side.  By June of 1676, the tide of war had turned.  Native forces, lacking food, manpower and arms, retreated.  King Philip's death at Mount Hope in August 1676 effectively ended the war.

Not all Native Peoples sided with King Philip.  Native soldiers joining with the colonists helped turned the tide of war.  Those Natives who fought alongside the English or remained neutral were, however, not always trusted by the English.  Many Native neutrals were interned on outlying islands under inhumane conditions.  

The war ended in 1676 when Philip was killed by a Wampanoag soldier in Captain Benjamin Church's force. - http://www.pilgrimhall.org/philipwar.htm 

“The effects of the war led to the ruin of many families and communities, each side suffered greatly. It took many years for the colonists to regain their way of life. Enitre families of the Native people were sold in slavery and some were even forced to become slaves. The Wampanoag people’s independence ended, but they continued to live in Plymouth Colony.”  

“Although the war was over and the Wampanoag were left worse for the wear the native heritage of the Wampanoag people was preserved and is still alive today. Although at the time of the wars end the Wampanoag people were fearful to speak in their native language and live their heritage, so they concealed it. This lead to the loss of the Wampanoag language, and has not been spoken as a common part of their language for about 7 generations, that means the last to speak the language would have been someone who was as old as your great-great-great-great, grandmother/father!! Isn’t that an incredible thought!”  

Show the Wampanoag example of language and English version. 

It will be a prayer, these are the only examples that I could find! We will not be focusing on any religious aspect though, just the language!!!!  

“Life went on for the colonists as well. They began to live more luxurious lives and lived very comfortably. Trade had grown so that people could buy many more goods that weren’t previously available to them. New England, because of their location to water had access to England therefore providing them with goods from around the world.” 

“How does their proximity to water matter when it comes to trade?” (Students may say that since they are by water they can easily have ships bring items in and out of the colonies.) 

“With the negative ‘publicity’ of King Philips war, English Royalty began to reconstruct colonies. Plymouth colony was not given a charter. Which would have meant they could’ve remained their own little town, instead they became part of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The pilgrims were no more, but there colony lasted for 72 years, although their legacy will live on until the end of time.”   

Response Activity: 

The response activity will take place during the lesson. While we are learning the students will be filling out the important dates that are given, and what event is associated with that date. Students will then, after the lesson fill out their ABC Chart. “I hope that you all learned a lot of valuable information today, make sure to keep your timelines safe they have many important dates on them that we need to remember. Now we will fill out our ABC Chart, I would like to take ideas and suggestions from you first to see what you can remember from the lesson!!”  


Ms. Morris and I will be assisting the students while they are filling out their timelines throughout the lesson. We will make sure that each student has the correct date a event filled in. We will also make sure that everyone is up to speed with the ABC Chart. I will have a completed timeline for the students to look at, I will also have a list of words that are important for the students to add to their ABC Charts, I will also add important words that the students come up with. 


“As we come to the close of our lesson I would like to thank you all for being so well behaved and for the wonderful and thought provoking questions you asked. Does anyone have anything else to add or any other questions for Ms. Morris or myself? (Wait for student questions). Thank you for the new questions boys and girls. Just as a refresher we learned about who William Bradford and Massasoit were, as well as Massasoit’s sons. We learned a little about the Mayflower Compact. We also learned about the cause, conflict, and effects of King Philip’s War. Remember the cause was the death of King Philips Brother, the conflict took place over a years time in several areas of Plymouth Colony, and it ended in both the Pilgrims and Wampanoag loosing large numbers of their people and many homes being destroyed. We also learned about the loss of the Wampanoag language, and what life was like later in the colonies. I hope you enjoyed the lesson and that you have a great rest of the day! J