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Native Americans

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Lesson and activity ideas for a unit on the history and culture of peoples indigenous to North America
Native Americans
Posted by:Elise #11845

Hi Alyssa!

My second graders also study Native Americans. We focus mainly on Eastern Woodlands Indians (since we're from NJ), and I break the kids up according to their interests. The groups come up with questions according to their interests, and then do modified "research" by reading books. The students write down a few facts that help in answering their questions, and then they build a "museum exhibit" to bring their research to life.

For example,
if a group studied HOMES, and asked, "How did families live without modern houses?" the children would research (in our area) wigwams and longhouses. The students would learn about the structure, functions, and living arrangements, then build a mini longhouse for their exhibit. This sounds complicated and over their heads, but in all actuality, it can be made very simple. Students who find only two or three...

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Native Americans
Posted by:Awilda Rodriguez #49927

You may want to check in your school district or internet to see if you can have a Native American visit your class. Every year we have a Native American (Apache), Santos Hawk, that the Board of Ed has a contract with to visit our 5th grade classrooms and talk about his tribe, garment, etc. He performs on stage a dance and teaches the children a dance and some words. They enjoy it very much and come up with excellent questions during the Q&A session. I probably can get additional information from our technology department who usually sets up the date and time of the visit. He just visited our school this past Friday. I know he visits schools across the states.

Also I have the children create a diorama using art materials or any thing they can come up with to create an Indian village (showing people, living quarters,...

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Native Americans vs. Indians
Posted by:Melissa #51920

I would like to say that my ancestors came to North America from Europe in the 1600's and 1700's. That makes me very much a "native American." I don't like the term "Native American" for the American Indian, because anyone who was born here in North America is technically a NATIVE American. People might say that we should call the Indians native Americans because they were here first. It is true that they were here first. However, just like our ancestors, theirs emigrated to North America, only it was longer ago when they crossed the "land bridge" to arrive in North America from Asia. I think a more appropriate title for these people is "first Americans," not "Native Americans." I use the term Indian or "first Americans" in my social studies class.

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Native Americans
Posted by:patsi #86431

Our school uses Core Knowledge (Coreknowledge.org)for our social studies and science units.Core Knowledge suggests to do a comparison study so that students understand that not all Native Americans wore the same clothing, ate the same food, lived in teepees,etc. I do a comparison study of Seminoles (native in our area) and the Sioux tribe. Both were Native Americans, but very different. A internet site named Dover Publications has inexpensive paper doll books that show authentic pics. Pick a local tribe in your area and then a tribe in another part of the country to compare their ways of life, food, clothing, habits, contributions, etc. It's a fun way to educate children that not all Indians wear feathers on their head. HAVE FUN AND LEARN TOO!

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Native Americans
Posted by:Angle Fire #84192

Pick 3 or 4 tribes from each area to have the students research. Let them pick which tribe they are interested in and have them do independent research. Depending on the size of the class each student could do their own research or you could group them in 2's or 3's.
One person can then be an artist, one a reporter, and one an editor. They work as a team to present their tribe as the most important to contribute to the white man's survival in a strange land. What did we learn from our Native American friends? How did their environment influence their way of life? What they wore, ate, how they traveled, shelter structures..... Did all the tribes have a belief in common? How did they communicate? What games did they play? Where is your tribe today and what are they doing? Are we still learning from our Native...

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Native American Units
Posted by:Janelle #67605

I have done a good Native American Herritage Unit. Since I am from NC, I wanted my students to learn more about Native Americans from our state. YOu could pick what ever state you are from and form a list of the trives in your state. I put them in groups of 4, and they chose a tribe or you can choose a tribe for them. They had to design two visuals about their tribe, write a 2 page essay about their tribe and they also had to do some sort of creative group presentation. Each part of the project was worth certain percentage. I would suggest somethign like 33% for each section, if you choose to do it like th is. When I did this unit I was teaching Social Studies and Language Arts, so I would mix it up some. I read stories that were related to Native Americans in my...

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California's Regions and Native Americans
Posted by:Dianne #60054

Early in the year I like to spend a few weeks exploring California's regions/biomes (temperate rainforests, mountains, deserts, chaparral and coasts). The students are divided into one of the biomes and are asked how they would live (food/water, shelter and clothing) using only the resources within that biome without modern tools/technology. At the end of a week, each group shares their information. This leads into a discussion about California's Native Americans and how each tribe's lifestyle is determined by the resources in the environment. We then look at a tribe from each region and compare the similarities and differences of the tribes. I also spend time teaching a more indepth study of the Chumash tribe since there is ample information about them and the tribal area is within our vicinity.

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