In this resource unit, conceived for fifth graders, students will explore the History and People in Societies social studies standards, concerning the cultural practices and product development of the North American Native peoples by using different audio-visual materials, teacher and student materials, and a mix of projects and assessments.
The main goal of this unit is to educate the students in a way that differs from the everyday and to gain some insight into different cultures from their own. The students have the opportunity to explore any Native American culture or tribe that they wish and to affix some type of connection in the process. In this unit the one tangible goal is to have the students approach different or unfamiliar cultures in a positive and demonstrative way.
The student should be able to make connections between the geography of the land and the settlement aspects of the Native Americans
Benchmarks: Cultures and Interaction
Indicators: artistic expression, religion, language, food, clothing, and shelter in culture and comparing Indian life from then to now and how they are contributed to American politics, industry, inventions, careers, etc.
On the third day, the students will be introduced to the different languages the existed throughout the Native American cultures. Several words in the English language, not to mention our state and town names, are prevalent in our everyday words.
On the fourth day, the students will be introduced to the food and drink of the Native Americans. A perfect example would be the feast of Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock. Also mention the fact that the most Natives were either hunter/gatherers or mostly agriculturists.
One the first day, the students will be introduced to the different aspects of the art of the Native Americans and how different tribes used themes, geometric shapes, animals, etc. in their art. Also that art and the process usually indicates a certain tribe.
On the second day, the students will be introduced to the concept of religion or the mysticism of the Native Americans and how it differs or is similar to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. Also how important/unimportant was religion to certain tribes.
On the fifth day, the students will be introduced to the clothing and common dress of the Native Americans. What is considered appropriate today and what is not? What did they wear for seasonal dress?
On the sixth day, the students will be introduced to the common types of shelters found in different tribes of Native Americans. What are they living in today and do we still build any of their common housing to this day?
On the seventh day, the students will be introduced to the locations of where the Native Americans mainly settled. Where did they settle in reference to their foodstuffs and why did they settle there?
On the eighth day, the students will be introduced to how Native Americans have changed their daily lives to fit within modern standards of the United States. How are they the same, how are they different? What kind of jobs do they have and what do they often do for a living?
Name several different artisan styles of Native American tribes.
List different types of religious activities that Natives engaged in.
Name or list several ways in which Natives obtained food.
Identify several different clothing styles that were worn by Native Americans.
Explain why Native Americans are important to the history of our country.
List several different locations that Native Americans have lived or still live.
Explain or list several different ways that Native American have contributed to the United States (i.e. historically, politically, economically, etc.)
Explain why the Native Americans were important to the first European settlers.
Identify different struggles that the Native Americans took to in order to gain their rights.
Identify the general time that Native American and European conflict started and list reasons why and how.
Explain how the Native Americans traded with the Europeans and explain the barter system.
Identify and explain the major Native American tribes the lived and thrived in the Midwest, specifically Ohio.
The teacher will briefly introduce the artistic expressions of a select few Native American tribes. Have examples ready of tangible objects (pottery, paintings, etc) or of pictures.
The students are introduced to the main study of Native Americans and are ready to understand different aspects of their culture, starting with art.
Open the lesson with a brief overview of Native American tribes. Probe questions of how they lived and worked. Explain that one of the many activities that Native Americans engaged in was artistry. The activity can include the students constructing their own art project using an example of Native American art from a book or picture. They should then properly identify it and “time” the piece from its place in history.
Religion will be discussed briefly by asking students how they celebrate the holidays and if they go to Church, Temple, Mosque, etc. regularly.
The students will have an understanding of the different aspects of religion in the Native American culture and that they often engaged informally in these activities.
Have a brief discussion about different religions that are in existence today in the United States. Then pick a certain religious activity (i.e. a rain dance, war dance, etc.) that was considered a religious activity. Have the student set up an appropriate role playing activity and develop it from there.
Open the lesson in a Native American language. This will pique the students’ interest. Also have maps ready to point out the different tribe locations and therefore the development of their language.
The students will understand the complex variety of the languages of Native American tribes. Also that most tribes had no written language and that history and information was passed through oral stories.
Have the students look at maps and tribes and choose one to look up some Native languages. Also the students can identify state names and places and demonstrate the appropriate language.
Food and drink were very important to the Native Americans and it plays a large role in our culture as well. The teacher can bring in different examples of food.
The students will learn that many foods that we enjoy today were layovers from Native American foods, such as popcorn. Also that food played a large role in the customs and traditions of Native Americans.
If the teacher wishes they can extend this into a food feast featuring several different food examples from many different tribes. Or the students can brainstorm different foods that they believe are native to North America and have books of research.
The students will gain an understanding that the Natives dressed according to their location, the climate, and for the purpose of their position in the tribe.
Have books or pictures for the students to make their own head band or article of clothing. Provide paper, scissors, glue, etc. for the purposes of this activity. Then have the students show their “clothing” off to the class with a brief explanation of where and why it was worn.
Shelter is very important to the Native Americans and it plays a large role in their lifestyles. Also the location of living dictated their housing structure. Have several examples to show the students.
The students will gain an understanding that the building that the Natives lived in all served a great purpose to their lifestyle. They often had a fire pit, homes, and a “town hall” in most tribal villages.
The best example of this would be to provide a field trip to Sunwatch Village in Dayton. This would provide some insight into a river culture tribe and the structures they considered houses. Then building upon that the student would be able to construct with various materials brought in their own housing structure, from a teepee to a wigwam, etc.
Have maps and books ready to explain the location that many Natives lived and thrived in. Explain what food existed there and why the Natives interacted with their land the way they did.
The students will gain an understanding of why the Natives were either nomadic or stagnant in their lives. Some never had to leave do to their food availability, like agriculturists vs. a hunting and gathering society.
The students will create a map putting the areas where the Natives dwelled in respect to the location, geographic features, and food availability. The students will point out the differences in lifestyles in comparison to different foods, locations, climate, etc.
The teacher can open by using a short movie clip featuring Native Americans or another example of something created by a Native American like an art piece or a book.
The students will realize that Natives still live and thrive in this country and contribute significantly to society by their giving and sharing of their culture.
Have movie clips, books, art pieces, music, etc. that can illustrate the culture of a certain tribe. Have the students pick a famous Native Americans from a list provided by the teacher and have they write their contributions to society and to their country. Also make sure the importance of every culture is emphasized.
Multiple Choice: Read each question carefully and choose the best answer to the question.
Of the following tribes which one is associated mostly with Ohio?
What is considered a Native American food?
Which of the following is a religious practice of some Native American tribes?
Calling upon spirits
All of the above
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