Teach your students about the history of Native Americans and present-day Native American cultures with interactive online activities, book resources, games, and art projects.
- Learn about different regions where Native American tribes lived historically
- Research and record information on the people and tribes of a specific region
- Identify and describe the way of life of the people in a specific region
- Nonfiction books about various North American Indian tribes
- Internet access for further research
- Map of the United States and/or North America on display for all students to see
- Whiteboard or chart paper
- Native American Regions Research Guide printable
- Poster board for each student (students may also use manila or construction paper)
- Colored pencils/markers/crayons
- Preview all books and websites for information.
- Make a copy of the Native American Regions Research Guide printable for each student.
- Make sure each region is equally distributed among the class.
Step 1: Ask the class what they know about historical Native Americans. Who were they? Where did they live? What were their lives like? Record the students’ ideas using a main idea web on the whiteboard or chart paper.
Step 2: Tell students that Native Americans are the people who lived in America before people from other countries came here. Native Americans lived all over America, in all regions of the country. A region is an area of land. Tell the class: We are going to focus on the regions where Native Americans lived in what is now the United States.
Step 3: Show your students the map of the United States. Tell the class the name of each region. The regions are Eastern Woodland, Southeast, Great Plains, Southwest, California/Intermountain (Great Basin, Plateau), and the Northwest Coast. Tell the class that many different tribes lived in each region.
Step 4: Explain to the students that living in different regions affected the lives of the people who lived there. The climate, physical surroundings, and natural resources all affected the way they lived. Do you think that the Native Americans who lived by an ocean lived the in same way as people who lived in the Plains? Would the Southwestern tribes have the same climate as the Eastern Woodlands tribes? Would they have the same resources? Wear the same things? Eat the same foods?
Step 5: Students will choose a region by drawing at random, and then research the tribes that lived in that area. They will share the information with the class.
Step 6: Students will use books and/or internet access to research their region. Each student will use a Native American Regions Research Guide printable to guide their research. Research will probably continue into a second day. Students who finish early may start their posters. When they complete the posters, they may choose an extension activity.
Research categories include:
Step 7: Students will create a poster about the Native Americans in their region. They will present the poster to the class.
Guidelines for poster:
- Write the title of the region
- Label each category
- Write 2–3 sentences about each category
- Write a journal pretending you are a kid in a tribe from your region. What is your life like? Use details from your poster such as type of house, clothing, arts/crafts, and food to write your journal.
- Create a 3D model of the type of home found in the region historically.
- Make a craft typical of Native Americans from the region. Examples may include a dream catcher, a totem pole, weaving, bead work, etc.
- Did the student answer each category correctly?
- Did the student follow the guidelines for the poster?
- Was the student able to present information to class?
Lesson plan written by Sarah Denton. Sarah Denton taught PreK and first grade. She was ESL-certified and the PreK-2 member of her school's Instructional Leadership Team.