Study the history of Native Americans in this free unit study.
This lesson on Native Americans is just a general beginning to the history and lives of the Native Americans. I made this lesson to give my boys a general understanding of the Native American’s way of life and the things they have endured.
It is by no means a complete study. As we study more of American history the boys will learn about other events that involved the Native Americans but for now I wanted them to have a lesson that concentrated solely on these great people and their heritage.
Submitted by JoAnn S.
Suitable for GradeRange: 3rd – 9th
- Book of Indians by Holling C. Holling (specific events)
- Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell (literature)
- The Buffalo and the Indians: a Shared Destiny by Dorothy Hinshaw (culture)
- Sitting Bull by Connie Roop (biography)
- Wigwam and the Longhouse by David Yue (culture)
3rd -6th grade:
- If You Lived With the Hopi by Anne Kamma (culture)
- The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz (biography)
- Om-Kas-toe of the Blackfeet by Kenneth Thomasma (historical fiction)
- Native Americans Village Life, Daily Activities, Arts & Crafts (culture)
- Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac
- Squanto by Feenie Ziner (biography)
- Indians by Edwin Tunis (culture)
- Crazy Horse by Judith St. George (biography)
- Indian Captive by Lois Lenski (historical fiction)
- Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan
(I recommend viewing yourself before letting your child watch to make sure the movies meet your standards; some are rated R.)
- In Search of History – Navajo Code Talkers – The History Channel(1998)
- Geronimo: An American Legend
- The Last of the Mohicans
- Dances with Wolves
Printable Activities List – Available in the Resource Library
Native American Vocabulary:
treaty, natives, wigwam, moccasins, papoose, buffalo, Hogan, teepee, compromise, wampum, ceremony, clan, tribe, prairie, myth, legend, surrender, reservation, warrior, squaw, guide, interpreter, symbol, confinement, uprising
Native American People:
For each of the following people, record what tribe they were from, death and birth if you can find it. Also, write about their role in history and any interesting facts you find about them. You can use these notebooking templates.
3. American Horse
4. Crazy Horse
5. Red Jacket
9. The Bat
10. Red Cloud
11. Red Eagle
14. Major Ridge
15. John Ross
Native American Biographies:
Fill in a biography paper for each of the following person. Make sure to record any thoughts or impressions you have about their role in history or their character. What can we learn from them? How to write a biography *grammar/writing
4. Chief Joseph
7. Sitting Bull
Record the date, location, outcome of these events. Also note the causes of these events.
There are a lot more events in Native American History, see how many more you can find out about.
Make sure to record your thoughts about these events. (History is not worth studying if we don’t learn lessons from it)
1. Treaty of Hopewell
2. The Revolt of the Young Chiefs
3. Creek War
4. Indian Removal Act of 1830
5. Wounded Knee Massacre
6. Red River War
7. Ute Wars
8. The Rogue River Treaty
9. Old Northwest Warfare
10. Starved Rock
11. The Great Giveaway of 1889
Here is a list of other links that may be useful in filling out your notebook.
- Native American Notebooking Pages
- Native American with Horse Notebooking Page
- Vocabulary quiz
- Brief history of the Indian nations
- Native American languages
- Native American lore
- Learn about Sequoyah
- Major Ridge
- Indian Wars timetable
- Native American vocabulary
- Several links to use about Native American History
Ongoing activities: timeline, notebook pages, and vocabulary
Unit Study Week 1:
Read aloud: Book of Indians
Kids read: Indians, Native Americans
Movie: The Last of the Mohicans
Make a map of the Native American Tribes. *geography
Pick a Native American tribe and find out the type of home they had. Make a model of the home. Be creative with your choice of materials. Also keep it small because we will use it in a diorama in a later activity. *art
Choose two tribes and compare them using a VENN diagram.
Unit Study Week 2:
Read aloud: Sitting Bull
Kids read: Om-Kas-toe of the Blackfeet, Indian Captive
Movie: Dances with Wolves
Make a cornhusk doll
Native Americans use plants for many things among these are medicine. Your task is to find samples of as many of these plants as you can during a nature walk. You will then put the samples in your plant journal and record information about each plant in your journal. Make sure to record its scientific name, common name, location it was found, a description of the plant, and the use of the plant. You may not be able to locate many plants in your area so an alternative would be to locate photos of these plants and record where it grows. *science connection (this project should be done over the span of the study)
For this project you will need to make a plant journal, a list of plants used by Native Americans for healing, plastic bags, glue, pens
Unit Study Week 3:
Read aloud: Blackfeet Indian Stories
Boys read: Double Life of Pocahontas, Squanto
Movie: Geronimo: An American Legend
Ball and triangle game I found on a website that I thought would be a simple craft to imitate.
Or you could try one of these games
Word search *critical thinking
Find the census record for Native Americans in 1980 and 1990. What tribe has the largest population? Which has the least? What is the difference between these 2 populations? Look at the top 10 populations. Was there an increase or decrease in population in the 10 years? *math
Unit Study Week 4:
Read Aloud: The Buffalo and the Indians: a Shared Destiny
Kids read: If You Lived With the Hopi, Crazy Horse
Movie: The History Channel Navajo Code Talkers
Come up with a secret message to give a friend. Make sure to give your friend the secret code so they can read the message. Then have your friend write you back using the code.
Find out about buffalo hide paintings. Then make one of your own. You could use a brown paper bag for the buffalo hide. Crumple it up and flatten it several times to give it more of a leather look. *art
Unit Study Week 5 & 6: Finishing up
Read aloud: Wigwam and the Longhouse
Kids read: Mean spirit, Hidden Roots
Can you think of other ways the Native American culture has influenced our culture? List them in your notebook.
Make a dream catcher
I bought a weaving loom set so they could practice some weaving.
Use self hardening clay to make some arrow heads.
Make a diorama of the way an Indian village would have looked. Use the Indian home you made earlier to use in it.
To finish up this unit make some Indian recipes to serve to your family and give a presentation of what you have learned.