This week we read Across the Wide Dark Sea by Jean Van Leeuwen, a historical fiction account of the Mayflower voyage. Then we did some online research about the Pilgrims and their journey. We tried to imagine what being onboard the Mayflower would have been like.
We learned that the 102 passengers on the Mayflower mostly lived on the ‘tween deck, in an area with estimated dimensions of 58 by 24 feet. To get an idea of that size, we measured out an area outside with those dimensions, and all the fifth graders at our school (a few more than 102 kids) stood together in it. It felt pretty crowded, even without any adults! Can you imagine what it would have been like to live so close to other people for a 66-day trip at sea? To make it more challenging, even after they arrived in the New World, many of them had to remain on the ship for months!
Every day this week during reading time, we dimmed the lights and read by (electric) candlelight, to simulate the darkness of the ship. We listened to sound effects that sounded like being in a wooden ship. On Wednesday, while we read we ate a meal like one the Pilgrims would have had on board: beans and dry bread. Goody M and Goody H were kind enough to serve us!
We will have our own government in this new land.
For our religion, we agree to make laws and follow them.
We’ll follow our own rules and our own religion in this colony.
What else can you teach us about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower?