Native American Heritage
Teaching resources to help your class explore the rich culture and traditions of Native Americans in the United States.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
Use these activities, book resources, games, and art projects to teach your students about the history of Native Americans and present-day Native American culture. Encourage students to study different Native American tribes with the Native American Cultures online activity, or step into the past to discover the First Thanksgiving and the Wampanoag tribe's relationship with the Pilgrims. Historical fiction texts and picture-book adaptations of Native American legends are perfect for independent reading projects.
History of Native Americans
Learn about the original inhabitants of the Americas in this article from Scholastic GO!
Through field reports and interviews, students discover how the Skagit River is closely linked to the lives of the people in the valley.
In this exciting activity, students take a virtual trip to the canyon lands of Utah, where they study ancient rock art with the experts.
Students head to New Mexico on a virtual trip to explore 1,000-year-old Native American ruins with a team of experts.
Resources for teaching the "Native American Cultures" activity, which explores ancient and modern-day Native American cultures in New Mexico, Utah, and Washington.
A brief look at the Native American tribes who built and lived in cave dwellings in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona
What was life like for Native American tribes along the northwest coast of the United States before the arrival of European settlers? Details from housing to dress to food are provided in an engaging question-and-answer format.
Native Americans and the Pilgrims
Students compare and contrast the daily lives of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag in this First Thanksgiving activity!
This article from Scholastic GO! summarizes the history of the Wampanoag tribe of Rhode Island, whose joint feast with the Pilgrims inspired today's Thanksgiving holiday.
The Wampanoag warrior Fast Turtle, a historical interpreter from Plimoth Plantation, answers Scholastic's questions about life in the Wampanoag tribe, the tribe's relationship with the Pilgrims, and the 1621 Thanksgiving Feast. This interview transcript can be used as a Readers' Theater script or research material.
Travel back in time to visit an authentic Wampanoag homesite in this video tour from Plimoth Plantation.
Native Americans Today
These guidelines for teaching respect for native peoples are supplied by Oyate, an organization whose mission is to promote honest and accurate portrayals of Native Americans and their histories.
In this full-length interview, Bobby Johns Bearheart, Chief of the Perdido Bay Tribe of the Creek Indians near Pensacola, FL, talks about his rich heritage with Kid Reporter Joseph O'Connor.
Sherman Alexie's award-winning novel provides the opportunity for students to analyze character growth through hip but profound text and comic illustrations. Activities engage students in researching Alexie's Spokane Indian tribe, writing a blog of their opinions about the book, and creating personal narrative comics.
Art and Culture
Top Teaching blogger Meghan Everette provides suggestions for discussing Native Americans and their contributions to American culture and explains her Native American pottery art project.
Children engage in educational activities related to Native American culture, including a guessing game and dream analysis.
Try these discussion prompts for the tale of a Pawnee boy who longs for a pony, by author Caron Lee Cohen.
Questions to pose before and after reading the story of a Native American girl and her kinship with horses.
Continue the discussion about Native Americans after reading the book by Paul Goble.
Students explore themes from the book by Tomie dePaola on a Native American legend.
Cynthia Rylant, author of the popular Henry and Mudge series, teams up with illustrator Mark Siegel to create Long Night Moon, an engaging and beautifully illustrated book about the various Native American full moons. Students enjoy searching for the animals in the different scenes.
A lesson on the Plains Native Americans that integrates social studies and reading, using these four Paul Goble books
Historical Fiction Book Resources
A book summary, discussion questions, and student activities for when reading the story of Navajo survival by author Ann Turner
Activities and questions to discuss after reading Weetamoo, Heart of the Pocassets, by author Patricia Clark Smith.
A book summary, questions to discuss, and activities related to My Heart is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl, by Ann Rinaldi, in the Dear America historical fiction series.
Use these discussion prompts and student activities when reading this story on the Trail of Tears, as revealed through the fictionalized journals of Jesse Smoke, a Cherokee boy.
Students write an original folktale to illustrate a particular part of the story of Sacajawea, a girl taken captive from her Shoshone people and chosen to join the Lewis and Clark expedition.
After years of standing against the U.S. government, the great warrior and spiritual leader Geronimo's life is coming to an end, as his grandson visits him where he is imprisoned, in Fort Sill, OK in 1908.
After reading the Thanksgiving story by Michael Dorris, challenge students with questions about the characters, plot, literary elements, and more.
Students explore themes from the book about a boy who survives in 18th century Maine with help from local Native Americans.