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 American history 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.


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 though 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.

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.

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