Aboard the Mayflower - Pilgrim Study Unit (Lesson 2 of 7)


  • Students will be able to identify the difficult and the pleasant aspects of the voyage of the Mayflower.
  • Students will be able to differentiate between the terms "Saints" and "Strangers."
  • Students will be able to define and illustrate key vocabulary words (optional).


  • Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness (pp. 1-4, 27-30, The Saints, The Strangers)
  • Pilgrim Fact Card 3
  • Worksheet "What I Liked/What I Didn't Like" (see below)
  • Class Chart


  • Saints
  • Strangers
  • Pilgrims
  • Colonist


  1. Pass out the book Three Young Pilgrims. Have the students look through the book to notice its unique style (sidebars, maps, and detailed information). Explain that this book will be one of their texts for this unit.

  2. Tell the class that they will be learning about the voyage aboard the Mayflower in 1620. They will be asked to write about the voyage using the information in the Pilgrim Fact Card 3 and Three Young Pilgrims.

  3. Distribute the sheet "What I Liked/What I Didn't Like." Have the students work cooperatively to complete it.

  4. Fill in the Class Chart (begun in Lesson 1) with any newly acquired information.

  5. Students will define and illustrate Vocabulary for the lesson (optional).

Extension/Extra Credit Projects

  • Students will write a letter to a relative or friend in England telling about the voyage.
  • Read a book about the Mayflower voyage of 1620. Some possible choices follow.

Dalgleish, Alice. The Thanksgiving Story. New York: Athenaem-Aladdin, 1954.
A mostly accurate account of the Pilgrims' journey to America and the hardships of the early settlement in Plymouth. This is a classic of children's literature written about the Pilgrims.

Van Leeuwen, Jean. Across the Wide Dark Sea: The Mayflower Journey. New York: Dial Books, 1995.
Told from a young boy's point of view, this book gives a new perspective to the Pilgrims' story. He relates the uncertainty and difficulties of the voyage, what he and the others will find in a new and strange land, as well as the hardships of the first winter.

Waters, Kate. On the Mayflower: Voyage of the Ship's Apprentice and a Passenger Girl. Photographs by Russ Kendall. New York: Scholastic Press, 1996.
The latest in this series of books which are illustrated with photographs taken aboard the Mayflower II at Plimoth Plantation, this book tells the story of two children on the Mayflower during the voyage to Plymouth. The apprentice to the master of the ship befriends one of the young passenger girls and we see their daily responsibilities and life on board the ship during the voyage.

Roop Connie and Peter. Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World. New York: Walker and Company, 1995.
Written in a diary format, this book follows the journey of the Pilgrims as they leave on their voyage and through their first year in the new Plymouth Colony. Based on actual primary documents, Mourt's Relation and Bradford's history Of Plymouth Plantation. Includes a glossary of unfamiliar words. Text and illustrations may be more suitable for older students.

© Plymouth Public Schools, Plymouth, MA 02360

Name _________________________________________


Pretend you are one of the children sailing on the Mayflower in 1620. You have very little to keep you occupied and you are very, very bored. Your friends and you decide to write a list to pass the time. You try to think of as many items that you like and don't like about being aboard a ship crossing the Atlantic.















© Plymouth Public Schools, Plymouth, MA 02360

Present this lesson plan to help students understand the hardships endured by the Pilgrims and crew during their voyage on the Mayflower.
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