No Extra Room on the Mayflower


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Everybody loves the Thanksgiving holiday, right? What are some things you think about when you think about Thanksgiving? Maybe you think about turkey, stuffing, Massachusetts, Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims, and the ship called the Mayflower.

Let's take a closer look at the Mayflower. Would you like to take a trip on the Mayflower? How about living on the Mayflower for 66 days? What would you want to take with you from your room? What would you need to take with you?


In this lesson, you will learn about scarcity of space and making good choices.


Picture yourself as a Pilgrim from England in 1617. You have just learned that your family has gained passage on a ship bound to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Your father has told you that the ship is called the Mayflower. Your parents tell you that you have to start packing immediately, but they also tell you that the Mayflower is not a large ship so you will need to pack only the important items. You now have a lot of choices you must make.

The First Thanksgiving: Tour the Mayflower First things first; you need to know what conditions are going to be like on the Mayflower. Click on the picture of the ship to the right to see what life will be like on the Mayflower.

Would you like to live on the Mayflower? Do you think the people on the Mayflower had to make tough choices about what they took with them? Have you ever packed a suitcase to stay overnight with a friend or family member? What did you take with you? Did you take ALL of your toys? Or ALL of your clothes? Did you have to make choices? These are just some of the hard decisions the Pilgrims had to make when they decided to sail to America.

Click here and complete an activity that will help you learn about the choices the pilgrims had to make.

You have just learned about an important idea from economics. It is called scarcity.

Scarcity is what we experience when we want to have more than we can possibly have. Scarcity exists because human wants to exceed the capacity of resources to satisfy those wants. Scarcity is also related to the fact that resources usually have more than one valuable use. If a traveler uses luggage space to carry furniture, for example, he or she will have less space for other things that may also be important. The problem of scarcity faces all individuals and organizations, including firms and government agencies.


We can not always pack everything we own. Scarcity forces us to make choices. The pilgrims had to make hard choices when they decided to sail to the New World. They could only take the bare essentials and had to leave behind many comforts and luxuries.


Pilgram HatWrite about the choices you made using this worksheet.


Learn more about life for colonists in America by reading If You Lived in Colonial America by Ann McGovern.