If you want to have fun with Word Study, just ask students to find the history of words they are interested in.
Today we used Online Etymology at Komensky in grades 4 and 5 to focus on Thanksgiving words.
We did research on the following words and found the following interesting facts. The information led to a wonderful discussion about Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim -c.1200, pilegrim, from Old French pelerin, peregrin "pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger";from Late Latin pelegrinus, dissimilated from Latin peregrinus "foreigner".
We wondered if Pilgrims referred to themselves as Pilgrims or instead Colonists or English.
Indian-"inhabit of India or South Asia," c.1300 (noun and adjective); applied to the native inhabitants of the Americas from at least 1553, on the mistaken notion that America was the eastern end of Asia.
For this word, we wondered why the word has never been changed once it was realized that a mistake had been made. One student suggested that the correction was Native American.
Harvest-Old English hærfest "autumn, period between August and November," from Proto-Germanic *harbitas ;Greek karpos "fruit," karpizomai "make harvest of;" Latin carpere "to cut, divide, pluck.
The students discussed what plants and animals the Pilgrims and Indians would have cut, divided and plucked.