Lesson Plan for Teachers

As I have previously written, I am a history education major. Throughout my time with the Yale Indian Papers Project I have tried to constantly make connections to my future classrooms. I think it is important for teachers to find new and creative ways to approach native american history to create interest among their students. With this in mind I have created a lesson plan for a group activity that focuses on studying one local tribe per group. My goal is to help students begin to consider the unique experiences and culture of each tribe. This particular lesson was designed for an 11th grade social studies classroom, and I am using the Connecticut State Department of Education history standards. Anyone who wishes to use this lesson in their classroom may do so, and can make changes as needed. I only ask that if you do make significant changes to post your ideas in the comments so others can consider your changes for their classrooms as well.

Teacher: Kyle Armstrong

Grade Level: 11

Name of Lesson: Local Native American Culture

Content Standard(s):

HIST 9–12.3 Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.

HIST 9–12.9 Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to pursue further inquiry and investigate additional sources.

Student Learning Objective(s):

Students will consider the unique aspects of individual Native American Tribes. They will know the differences and similarities between tribes living in a specific geographic region. Students will understand that different tribes had their own culture and experiences, and that Native American history is complex.


Students will be assessed by working in small groups to study one individual tribe. They will present their findings via a power point presentation the rest of the class. Students will be graded on the content of their presentation including their use of the Yale Indian Papers Project database.

Materials and Resources:

This lesson will require at least 1 full day spent in the computer lab to allow students time to research their assignment and begin organizing their presentation.


The lesson will begin with 1 full day devoted to lecture and classroom study with a focus on the unique individualism of local Native American tribes. The goal is for students to begin approaching the culture and history in a new way. Rather then lumping the experiences together (which is inevitable when teaching Native American history as a survey approach) students will begin to consider each tribe as their own separate entity. By doing this students will begin to look to identify native peoples with their tribe rather then only group them together as “Native Americans.”

Lesson Development:

  • The Lesson will last 3 full days (1 day for introduction and group discussion, 1 day for time to work in groups, and 1 day to present findings to classmates)
  • The lesson will begin with a classroom discussion about the importance of considering each tribe’s individual history and culture.
  • Students will be placed in groups to complete the presentation portion of the assignment.
  • Each group will pick one local tribe to focus their efforts. They will research each tribe’s culture, history, and interactions with European settlers as well as the American Government.
  • At least one slide must make use of a primary source found in the Yale Indian Papers Project database, and comment on the importance of primary sources for studying Native American history.
  • Students will present their findings to the rest of the class, and lead discussions on the similarities and differences found in each group’s presentation.


The lesson will end with a discussion on the similarities and differences the class has found in their presentations. Students will discuss how looking at each tribe is an effective way to understand native american identity as native peoples look to overcome the challenges of practicing their culture in the 21st century.

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