Native Americans
(Making the Past Come Alive)

Snapshot
The students will learn about Native Americans as they research facts through the Internet and computer programs. The students will take these facts and turn them into structured paragraphs. The students will then show understanding of the material they have learned through hands-on projects which will be presented to their parents and peers.

Invitation
Teaching students to write a well organized research paper can be dull. Try this hands-on method with cooperative learning group interaction and a hands-on presentation of the paper to liven your teaching strategies.

Situations
Students will work in various school settings such as in the classroom, the computer lab, in the school yard (for gathering materials), and in the cafeteria/gym (for the museum which is the culminating activity). The students will also have assignments which must be completed at home. This project may include field trips to museums in your community. The unit will take approximately nine to ten days using the Quick Track Method or five to six weeks using the Recommended Method (See an explanation of these two methods under Tasks.)

Tasks
The students will research information about Native Americans using the Internet, reference books, and software programs. The students will turn this information into well written paragraphs. To illustrate an understanding of the material that was researched, the students will then create a replica of a Native American home, a craft, a dish from a Native American recipe, a costume, and a demonstration depicting one aspect of Native American life. All materials will be shown in a presentation the students give in front of their peers. Materials will then be turned into a walk through museum for parents and members of the school to visit.

Project

RECOMMENDED METHOD: This method takes approximately five to six weeks. In this method each step of the tasks listed later is completed for one group of Native Americans. After all tasks are completed the students repeat the same tasks again, this time with a different group of Native Americans. The tasks are then repeated a third time. This method is strongly recommended because many students must repeat the entire process before fully understanding what is expected. By repeating procedure students learn to work more effectively in creating well written paragraphs and more creative projects.

QUICK TRACK METHOD:  The quick track method requires only 9 to 10 days to complete. This may be an alternative for teachers who are pressed for time. In this method each task is completed only once. Each group is given a report to complete from any of  the three areas listed .

The suggested groups of Native Americans to use for either method are:

1.  Eastern Woodland Indians (Great Lake Tribes, Iroquois Nation, Cherokee, Seminole)
2.  Southwest Indians ( Pueblo, Apache, Navajo)
3.  Northwest Coastal Indians, Inuit (Eskimos), and Plains Tribes

TEACHER PREPARATION

1.  Divide the students into cooperative learning groups of seven to eight students per group. Be sure to include students of various achievement levels in each group.

2.  Make sheets for the students to use when taking notes according to the directions listed below:

Gather colored copier paper in blue, green, pink, yellow, orange, tan, gray, and white.

Label the top of the each sheet as follows:
Write Introduction on the blue paper,
Write Homes on the green paper,
Write Dress on the pink paper,
Write Food on the yellow paper,
Write Customs and Entertainment on the orange paper,
Write Tools / Weapons on the tan paper
,
Write Art on the gray paper, and
Write Famous People from this Group on the white paper.
(Note:  The color coded papers also help students during Student Task IV.)

Under the label on each sheet write a pertinent description of the facts the students need to be sure to include in their research.

Visit this site to see a chart and directions for using it. This chart gives the students a list of facts they should be sure to include while doing their research. Using this chart should be a big time saver for you.

Note Taking Chart

Student Tasks

STUDENT TASK I:   RESEARCH USING THE INTERNET, COMPUTER SOFTWARE, ETC.

Computer Lab Method If your school has a computer lab, students may work individually gathering facts for the entire group.

1.  Have each student use a different source i.e. Web Site, software program, etc. to find facts for all the sheets (categories) listed above.

2.  The sheets should be placed in a central location such as in the center of the group on a table. After a student finds a fact he/she should write the fact on the appropriate fact sheet. The fact should be written in phrases only (incomplete sentences). The student must write enough information so that other students can later understand the information without looking at the original source, but not so much that the student ends up copying word by word from the source.

3.  Important Note: All students in the cooperative learning group research any category. However students within the group use only one set of fact sheets. The students must constantly read what others have written so that information is not repeated.

Single Computer Method Many schools do not have a computer lab. Don't be discouraged. The research can still be done.

1.  Assign separate tasks within the cooperative learning group such as:

Computer operator

Reader

Writers

Material organizer

2.  Follow the same procedures for taking the notes. Rotate task roles so that each student has an opportunity to complete each role.

Suggested Web Sites:  Visit this site to see a list of web sites students will find useful when completing their research.

Websites

Suggested Resource Books:
Native American Legends Series by Watermill Press

Dancing Drum: A Cherokee Legend
Little Firefly:  An Algonquian Legend
Turquoise Boy:  A Navajo Legend
Ka-ha-si and the Loon:  An Eskimo Legend
Quillworker:  A Cheyenne Legend
Clamshell Boy:  A Makah Legend

Native American Lore and Legends Series by Troll

Sunflower's Promise:  A Zuni Legend
Coyote and the Grasshoppers: A Pomo Legend
Song of the Hermit Thrush:  An Iroquois Legend
Red hawk and the Sky Sisters:  A Shawnee Legend
Brave Bear and the Ghost:  A Sioux Legend

. . . If You Lived Series by Scholastic

. . . If You Live With the Cherokee
. . . If You Live With the Sioux

Scholastic Encyclopedia of North American Indian

Suggested Software:

500 Nations
The Indian in the Cupboard
Encyclopedias

Encarta
Compton's
World Book

STUDENT TASK II:  USING THE INFORMATION GATHERED IN TASK I STUDENTS WRITE PARAGRAPHS

1.  Assign one paragraph for each student to write using the fact sheets.(i.e. Iroquois Homes, Seminole Foods, etc.)

2.  Each student takes the fact sheet for his/her category then organizes the information into a logical and sequential order.

3.  Each student writes one or more (if needed) paragraph(s) from the facts. The paragraphs must include:

    a topic sentence

    supporting details

    conclusion

4.  The students exchange paragraphs within their learning group for editing and proofreading.

STUDENT TASKS III:   TYPING

Each student types his/her paragraph(s).

STUDENT TASKS IV:  PARAGRAPH EVALUATION

1.  As a homework exercise all students in the cooperative learning group evaluate all the paragraphs written by the students in his/her group. See the evaluation form under assessments.

2.  The evaluation forms may be color coded (copied on colored paper) using the same colors as the fact sheets. This will make sorting the evaluations easier.

3.  Each student will read the six or seven evaluations written by members in his/her group, then make improvements to his/her paragraph(s).

STUDENT TASKS V:  BUILD A REPLICA OF AN INDIAN HOME

The students in each group will work together to build a replica of an Indian Home from their tribe or region. For consistency these can all be built in cardboard trays (the type in which soft drinks are delivered). Have students use natural materials such as dirt, sand, twigs, barks, etc. to build their home.

STUDENT TASKS VI:  COMPLETE A CRAFT

Have students choose one craft project that represents their Indian group. These crafts may be completed individually or in small groups.

Visit this page for illustrations and directions for making some Native American crafts:

Crafts

STUDENT TASKS VII:   RECIPE

Have students find a recipe on the Internet they want to make for the class. Samples from this recipe will be shared with the class during their presentations. The recipe must represent a dish that was eaten by Indians in the region of the country they are studying.

Web Sites with recipes:

Native Recipes - http://indy4.fdl.cc.mn.us/~isk/food/recipes.html

 

The Student Tasks I - IV listed above focus on skills taught during English and social studies classes. The Student Tasks V - VII were added so students could demonstrate an understanding on the material they learned while completing the research. Student Task VIII may be added to this unit as a way to integrate science and health into your unit on Native Americans. (Note:  Later in the unit plan you will find suggestions for teaching reading.)

STUDENT TASKS VIII:  DEMONSTRATION

Coincide the teaching on one of the following units with your Native American Unit.

PLANTS

SIMPLE MACHINES

FOOD PRESERVATION

CONSERVATION

ASTRONOMY

Allow class time for each cooperative learning group to work together to prepare a demonstration that will be shown to the class during their presentation (See Student Task IX.)

Visit this site for some demonstration examples:

Demonstrations

STUDENT TASKS IX:  PRESENTATION

1.  Each group must present the material they have gathered to the class. If using the Recommended five to six week version have one-third of the students dress for the first presentation in costumes that represent clothing that the Indians from their region wore. (The next third dresses for the second presentation and the last third dresses for the final presentation.) If you are using the Quick Track Method and not repeating the tasks, have all students dress for their one and only presentation.

2.  The group must present their paragraphs, the replica of the Native American home their group built, all crafts, show the demonstration (optional), and distribute samples of the food from the recipe they choose with the class. Encourage students to have additional visuals to help explain the material being presented such as:

A)  maps

B)  graphics taken from the Internet

C)  Indian artifacts such as arrowheads

D)  pictures

STUDENT TASKS X:   EVALUATING THE PRESENTATIONS

Have each student evaluate each presentation using the form in the assessment session.

CULMINATING PROJECTS

1.  If you plan to spend five to six weeks on this project the students will have many projects to share with the school. Try having a Walk Through Type Native American Museum.

Each student plans an exhibit for one of the Native American groups that were studied. This exhibit is based on the presentations given to the class.

Set up the museum in the cafeteria, gym, or one classroom.

Invite parents and students from your school to visit the museum.

2.  Have a team of students take pictures of all crafts, costumes, and other materials used in the presentations.

3.  The teacher or Computer Club, if your school has one, can then take the final reports and photographs and incorporate them into pages for the Web.

TRY THESE IDEAS ALONG WITH YOUR UNIT.

1.  Have a check out library of video tapes on Native Americans. Start compiling the tapes about 6 months before the unit begins. Each tape may contain several programs on one theme such as a specific person or tribe. For relevant program ideas, browse through  Cable in the Classroom magazine to help locate relevant shows such as A & E Classroom's Biography or PBS's Reading Rainbow.

2.  Plan a field trip to a museum in your community in which students may learn more about Native Americans.

3.  Teach a simultaneous unit on Native American Literature, Legends, and Folklore during your reading time period. See this site for some teaching ideas for your unit:

Reading

Interactions
The students will work independently, in small groups or pairs, and in cooperative learning groups. The students will also work as a member of a team during the classroom presentation. Finally the students will be presenters in a "museum" setting. They will present to parents and others in their school.

Tools
Computer(s) equipped with Internet, Software about Native Americans and/or Encyclopedias, Rerference Books, Various Craft Materials

Standards
These standards are from the Tennessee Comprehension Curriculum Guide: Social Studies and Language Arts sections.

WRITING

Use appropriate organizational strategies to develop writing, including main ideas and supporting details.

Begin to evaluate and revise writing to focus on purpose, organization, transition and audience.

Recognize and demonstrate appropriate use of standard English: usage, mechanics, spelling, and sentence structure.

VIEWING AND PRESENTING

Use technological reference sources.

Use media to view, to read, to write, and to create.

Develop the use of the computer as a research and communication tool.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Identify people who lived in the United States prior to exploration and colonization.

Understand Native Americans were the first settlers in Tennessee and recognize their contributions to the state.

ASSESSMENT

1.  Students will rate the paragraphs written by members of their cooperative learning group using the form found at this site. Students will make corrections then the teacher will rate the paragraphs using the same form.

Form

2.  The second evaluation will be of the presentations. Each member of the class should fill out the form found at this site to rate each presentation.

Form

3.  Also look for improvements in standardized tests scores, classroom performance, and students attitudes.