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Collection of activities to teach about Native Americans


Social Studies  


2, 3, 4, 5  

Native Americans

I. Geography

1. Make a map showing the migration routes of various Indian tribes in North and Central America

2. Children identify the different regions where the Indians lived in North and Central America. Each child identifies a tribe on the map and places a push pin in the appropriate region. Each child researches the tribe and writes 5 interesting facts about it.

3. Locate on a map of Mesoamerica: Yucatan Peninsula, Maya Lowlands? Maya Highlands, Copan, Palenque, and Tikal.

II. History

1. As a class, discuss important events, places and people in Native American history and have the children draw a picture of a certain event.

2. Construct a timeline of Mayan dominance and note some of their accomplishments.

3. Select and cut out magazine pictures and make a class mural to give people living 1000 years from now an idea of how we live.

III. Culture

1. Children write a recipe for an ideal Indian feast.

2. Describe to the students, the characteristics of a good Cheyenne family. Have them write up their own characteristics of an ideal Indian family.

3. Teach children a Native American game called Rain.”

4. Each student must construct a small model of an Indian shelter.

5. Teacher brings in everyday objects such as spoons, knives, purses, etc. The children discuss what the different parts of the buffalo would have been used for in relation to these various present – day objects. Children learn that certain Indian tribes depended on the buffalo for all their essential needs.

6. Have students research a tribe and make a pamphlet highlighting different aspects of the tribe.

IV. Civics

1. Explain the role of the tribal council in the Cheyenne tribe and have them write down the qualities they would want to find in an Indian leader.

2. Explain the purpose of a Cheyenne military society. Have the children make up their own military society. They must name their society, write down the characteristics of the society, and create special symbols and rituals.

3. Role play a tribal council meeting.

V. Language Arts

1. Children think of an outstanding event that has happened in their lives. They draw their story on a piece of “buffalo skin” They also manually write the story out and place it underneath the picture story on the “buffalo skin.

2. Make up own Indian symbols/alphabet.

3. Read Where the Buffaloes Begin. Write own Indian legend.

4. Child pretends he/she is member of Apache tribe and writes a story about what it is like to live in that tribe.

5. Children learn new Indian words as well as Indian sign language.

6. Write an Indian poem about nature.

VI. Arts

1. Have children make traditional bead necklaces.

2. Make Indian paper dolls – men, women, children. Make and dress them in traditional Indian clothing.

3. Make clay pots with Indian symbols and pictures painted on them. If available, put them in a kiln and fire them.

4. Children will construct dream – catchers.

VII. Anthropology

1. Select 10 items that might represent your life. Tape a number on each object and place in a shoebox. At school, trade boxes with other children. They will take the objects and describe your lifestyle according to their interpretations of your objects. Compare their observations with your actual lifestyle. Discuss the similarities and differences. How accurate were they?

2. Compare totem poles made by the Algonquins with the stela carved by the Maya. Discuss their similarities and differences, material used, style, and uses for.

3. Study pictures and diagrams of Maya temples. Construct you own using paper mache, Styrofoam blocks, sugar cubes, etc.

VIII. Economics

1. Make a poster advertising services that might be offered in a Maya beauty or barber shop. Compare and contrast services offered in present day beauty and barber shops.

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