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Here the housing and tools of Native Americans, European settlers and modern day life are compared


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


4, 5  

Title – Native Americans in Michigan Compared to the European Settlers and Our Life Today

By – Katherine Ingrao

Primary Subject – Social Studies

Secondary Subject – Computers and Internet
Grade Level – 4-5

Note from

    In this lesson, Kidspiration software is used to create Venn diagrams comparing the housing and tools of Native Americans compared to European settlers and modern day residents of Michigan. By changing the vocabulary words, this lesson can easily be adapted to apply to the inhabitants of any state. If Kidspiration software is unavailable, Venn diagrams can easily be created using a compass or by tracing around a round object in the appropriate size.

Content Vocabulary:

    People of the Three Fires – three tribes native to Michigan.

    Moccasins – foot wear worn by Native Americans.

    Wampum – a string of white shell beads.

    Wigwam – domed single room dwelling used by certain Native American tribes.

    Plow – a farming tool used by early farmers to break the ground in their fields.

    Kayak – a small, single-person powered boat.

    Tomahawk – type of Native American weapon.

    Long house – long single room dwelling used by certain Native American tribes.


    5 – U3.1.8 Identify a problem confronting people in the colonies, identify alternative choices for addressing the problem with possible consequences, and describe the course of action taken.

Learning Resources and Materials:

  • Class set of Venn diagram worksheets
  • Class set of scissors
  • Picture examples of all Native American dwellings and tools
  • Picture examples of European settlers to Michigan, houses and tools
  • Class set of glue or tape
  • Access to Kidspiration software

Development of Lesson:

  • Introduction:

      To introduce this lesson, the teacher will begin with a group discussion about what they know about Native Americans in general and then specifically to Michigan. The class will create together a K-W-L chart so they can specifically define what they would like to learn from this lesson. The teacher will then talk about the many different tribes that were native to Michigan, but there will be a focus on the People of the Three Fires. The teacher will post pictures of their traditional houses and tools so that students can refer back to them. Then the teacher will post pictures of traditional European settler’s houses and their tools. The class will be asked to compare the two groups based on their living arrangements and tools. Then the class will be asked to compare these two groups to their own life. The class will then be broken up into groups where they will create their own Venn diagram comparing the People of the Three Fires in Michigan and the European Settlers in Michigan. They will first do this on paper and then on Kidspiration.

  • Methods/Procedures:

    • Conduct a class discussion to introduce the topic and unknown vocabulary
    • Split class into small groups of two.
    • Students will cut out pictures of the Native American, European, and modern homes and tools from worksheet.
    • Each group will create a three ring Venn Diagram on paper as practice using the pictures they have cut out.
    • Groups will need to write down a justification for the placement of each picture in the diagram before gluing or taping it down.
    • Groups will show their hard copy of their diagram to the teacher for approval to move on to create one on the Kidspiration software.
    • One group member will create the final draft on Kidspiration and the other will type up their justifications so that they can be put on display with their project.
    • Once all groups are completed, the teacher will ask for volunteers to share their diagrams in the front of the class.
    • Diagrams will be placed on display on a bulletin board in the classroom or out in the hallway.

  • Accommodations/Adaptations:

      To assist the students during this project, there will be many examples given of how to create a Venn Diagram and what it should look like in the end. During the class discussion these examples will be shown and placed at the front of the room for further examination during work time. The teacher will be conscious of student’s abilities when pairing up the class. Students who are low level learners will as much as possible be paired with a stronger learner for support. In special cases, the teacher should assign fewer pictures required and fewer justifications to meet a student’s abilities and needs. At the same time the teacher will be going to these specific groups frequently during work time to assist in anything they need.

  • Assessment/Evaluation:

      The teacher will also be circulating through the room to make sure each group is on task and completing the project accurately. When the teacher is with each group, they will ask questions regarding their choices of where they have placed their pictures on their diagram. This will help the teacher gauge if the whole class comprehends or if there are only a few students not catching on.

  • Closure:

      Students will reflect on their diagrams by presenting them to the class. They will display their diagram and be able to give an explanation for at least three pictures on their project to the class. The class will be asked after each presenter if they had they same or different arrangement of their pictures. This will help students to compare their choices to their classmates and to realize that there are no wrong answers if you have a strong argument to support your decisions.


Katherine Ingrao


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