Skip to Main Content

Teaching Thanksgiving? Check Out These FREE BRI Resources

by Bill of Rights Institute on

For many folks, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends and express gratitude for what we have.

But with Thanksgiving just days away, many teachers will spend time discussing the holiday and its origins with their students.

And the Bill of Rights Institute offers teachers numerous materials and curricula related to Thanksgiving that could be helpful in the classroom.

These materials provide information to help teachers lead discussions about the Pilgrims who settled in the New World and the Native Americans who were already there.

As part of its Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness history curriculum, BRI offers an essay from University of East Anglia history professor Malcolm Gaskill detailing the history of the Pilgrims and what spurred them to make the journey across the Atlantic.

BRI’s "Pilgrims, Principles, and Politics" lesson explores how the Pilgrims structured their new society, explores key aspects of the Mayflower Compact, and invites students to reflect on which principles and virtues they think are most important to a new society, and which vices are the most dangerous.

Also, listen to a BRI podcast discussing facts and fiction related to the holiday we know as Thanksgiving.

BRI offers a variety of resources to help teachers and students explore the rich history and experiences of the Native Americans who already called the New World home. BRI provides extensive lesson materials on Native American history, including primary sources, handouts, and classroom activities.

This essay from BRI’s Documents of Freedom curriculum offers an overview of what Native Americans experienced before, during, and after the Pilgrims arrived, including discrimination and persecution Native Americans faced.

BRI Senior Teaching Fellow Tony Williams also spoke to Andrew Fisher, author and history professor at the College of William & Mary, as part of BRI’s Scholar Talks series. Fisher explores how each region of the New World included diverse groups of Native Americans and the different economic systems, gender roles, and interactions that existed among them.

Looking for additional resources? We probably have them! To search BRI’s 4,000+ online resources, just go to