Unpacking Our Perceptions

Students consider how misconceptions, or a lack of knowledge, may impact understanding of history and culture. They identify what they think they know about topics in Native American history and culture, and develop awareness of some common misconceptions that exist.


Diversity Across Native America

Students learn why it is important to learn about different Native American cultures when studying American history, rather than generalizing Native Americans as a single group. They read and annotate a nonfiction text to identify evidence that many different cultural groups exist, distinct from one another, each with their own rich history.


Cultural Areas Investigation (Part 1 of 2)

Students build foundational knowledge for this unit, working in groups to research Native American life in different cultural areas of the United States (Northwest Coast, California, Great Basin, Plains, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, Plateau, and Arctic and Subarctic) during the Historic Period. In the following lessons, the same groups each create a Cultural Area Booklet for use throughout the remainder of the unit, and present their findings.


Cultural Areas Investigation (Part 2 of 2)

Cultural Area Investigation Groups work to synthesize their research findings and create Cultural Area Booklets.


Presenting on Native American Cultural Areas (Checkpoint Assessment)

Through this Essential Question, students have investigated historical Native American cultural areas. This final lesson may be used as a checkpoint assessment of cumulative learning throughout this Essential Question. Here, Cultural Area Investigation Groups share their findings and present their Cultural Area Booklets. While observing the presentations, students take guided notes about life in other cultural areas during the Historic Period. Finally, students revisit assumptions and misconceptions by revisiting the  "Native American Culture Then and Now" handouts from the first lesson in this Essential Question.


Native America

Image by Markus Spiske

Essential Question

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What was life like for historical Native American cultures?

Students examine Native American life in California, the Northwest Coast, Great Basin, Plains, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, Plateau, and Arctic and Subarctic. They conduct research on cultural characteristics and use of natural resources.