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.
These ready-to-use teaching ideas for students support cooperation, social studies, and literacy skills.
- Two small clay balls: one red, one green
- Blank paper
- Drawing materials
Pass the Stone Game
Guessing games were popular among many Native American children.
Step 1: Spread a blanket on the floor and invite children to sit with you in a circle on the blanket.
Step 2: Hold two clay balls in your closed hand. Pass one to the child to your right, without letting the child see which ball you have passed.
Step 3: Ask the child to guess which color ball you have passed. If the child guesses correctly, give him both balls. This child then passes one clay ball to the next child.
Step 4: That child will guess which color ball has been passed. If this child guesses correctly, both balls are passed to her and the game continues. If the child guesses incorrectly, she moves out of the circle and the game continues.
Step 5: Play the game until one child is left in the circle.
Guessing Dreams and Wishes
Explain to children that the Iroquois are a league of six Native American nations located in Canada and New York. Tell children that dreams and wishes are very important to the Iroquois people. At some festivals, people make up riddles about their dreams and others try to guess what the dream means.
Step 1: Ask children to think of a dream or a wish that they have had.
Step 2: Provide children with paper and drawing materials. Ask children to draw a picture about their dream or wish.
Step 3: During meeting time, invite several children a day to share their drawings with the class. Encourage children to guess what their classmates' drawings may be about. Ask each child to tell about her special dream or wish. Children can also play charades and act out their dreams and wishes.
Step 4: Display children's drawings and include a dictated or written description.
Remember: It may be hard for some children to remember their dreams or identify a wish. Help children to brainstorm and ask lots of questions about their drawings.
Create a Legend
Explain that legends are stories that are passed down from one generation to another, and they often describe how something came to be. Share a Native American legend. Invite children to write their own classroom legend. Make a list of their ideas and work together to choose one to write about. Record the story on chart paper, giving each child a turn to add to it. Continue the activity for several days. Arrange legends in book format to develop a class legend anthology.
- Jubal's Wish by Audrey Wood
- Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
- Native American Games and Stories by James Bruchac