Native Americans and European Exploration: Lesson Plans and Inquiry Based Learning

lesson plansThe study of Native American culture and European exploration is an essential foundation for every Social Studies course.  Lessons that include primary and secondary sources help students gain insight from a variety of perspectives as they explore and ask questions about the past.  Topics covered include Native American culture and adaptation, Columbian Exchange and the Great Convergence.

Introduction to Paraphrasing –  Effects of European Exploration

Plagiarism is one of the biggest literacy problems we face as educators.  Students need direct instruction regarding strategies for writing without plagiarizing.  This activity teaches students how to identify key terms as they read that can be used to write paraphrased information.  The topic for this lesson is the effects of European Exploration but can be edited for any article.

Primary Source Exploration: Chief Red Jacket’s Speech

In this lesson, students read a speech by Seneca Chief Red Jacket in which he explain why Native Americans are hesitant to trust Christians.  It’s a thought provoking speech that always leads to interesting discussion.  You could use the speech alone as a way to begin a discussion about perspectives, or you can use the citation activity I’ve attached.

Were Native American Groups Civilized? Hyperdoc Inquiry Activity

Sometimes students need a little guidance with internet research.  Hyperdocs provide guidance for internet research and incorporate a sense of student choice.  In this activity, students explore links listed in the Powerpoint Hyperdoc to learn about the culture of Native American groups. (Don’t like my links? Edit the PP to add your own!)  Students use in the information they learn to answer the extended response questions.  You will want to begin this activity with a discussion about the word “civilized” and characteristics of civilized societies.

Great Convergence PowerPoint

This quick powerpoint presentation  shows a variety of things that are typically considered “American” and explains how they are actually examples of the influence The Great Convergence and cultural diversity.

Bellringers – Bellringer collections on powerpoint slides that cover a variety of topics.

Two Perspectives on the Battle of Little Bighorn/Greasy Grass

This lesson from the book The Price of Freedom: Americans at War asks students to analyze the perspectives of the American military and the Sioux Indians at the Battle of Little Big Horn through the analysis of primary sources.

One Comment:

  1. We are celebrating “Native American Heritage Month” in the schools I worked at, and the teachers want to connect their activities to some learning targets. I think this is a great resource. Thank you!

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