Big idea: People move from place to place for geographic, economic, political, and social reasons

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Social Studies- 2nd grade


*People move from place to place for geographic, economic, political, and social reasons.

*Where we are affects who we are.


I can describe how Native Americans were part of America’s history.

I can describe how Native Americans used the land to create a productive way of live.


One to three days, depending on the use of available resources, extension activities, and assessments.



Early Civilizations: The geographic, political, economic, and cultural characteristics of early civilizations made significant contributions to the later development of the United States.


Apply new knowledge about maps and map symbols to personal experience and familiar locations. (locating our continent, country, and state on the map)


Characteristics of a place influence human activity.

People change the place to adapt its environment to meet their needs.


Discuss the major economic activities and land use of areas studied.


Describe the elements of culture (i.e. food, clothing, housing, etc.) in a community of areas studied.


Identify ways in which humans depend upon, adapt to, and impact the earth.


Tell how we learn from the past.

Describe how mound builders lived in North America.

Recognize Native Americans as the first groups of people to live in North America.

Describe the lifestyle of a Native American community.

Understand how raw materials and resources are sued to make a product.

Identify the steps in the production process.

Recognize that people depend on things from the earth to meet their food needs.

Compare and Contrast (describe the features of the land then and the land now).


History- the study of things in the past

Native Americans- the first people to live in North America

Mound-builders- a member of any of various Native American peoples


Introduction: Display a map that clearly shows the continent. Point out North America and identify it as the continent where we live, the continent that contains our country, our state, etc. Ask the students if they know who the first people were to ever live in North America. Provide the answer if needed. Explain that Native Americans were sometimes called, “Mound Builders.” Mound Builders are Native Americans who use the earth to build mounds for burial, residential, or ceremonial purposes (such as the Woodland Indians). Display the vocabulary word Mound Builders on the word wall, pocket chart, or white board. Begin a KWL chart by charting what students already KNOW about Native Americans. Next, chart what the students would like to learn about Native Americans. Explain today’s lesson objectives (listed above).

Technology Integration- United Streaming/ Discovery Education Streaming video clip:

  1. Log in to United Streaming.

  2. Do a search for “Native Americans”

  3. Click on full video and select grades K-2

  4. The video is called Long Ago, Yesterday, and Today.

  5. Click on the segment titled, “Native Americans”

Instructional Input- Introduce the vocabulary word history and display the word on a word wall, on the white board, or pocket chart. Define the word for the students as the study of things in the past. Tell them that the word “past” is anything that happened before this moment and explain that there are lots and lots of events that make up the past (give them a couple of examples [the day you were born happened in the past, your last summer vacation happened in the past] and ask them to tell you some other things that happened in the past (solicit a few responses). Then, have the students “buddy buzz” (share with a neighbor) other things that happened in the past. Tell them that in this lesson, early Native American life is just one piece of history (something that happened in the past) that you will be focusing on.

Big Book- Read and discuss pages 178 and 179, read and answer the “Reading Check question”. Point out and discuss the elements of the illustration on page 179.

Assessments: To check for student understanding, the students may complete any of the following activities:

*Writing Prompt or Verbal Response (think, pair, share)- “Pretend you are member of the Powahatan tribe. Write a survival guide (or tell your neighbor) to someone who is new to your land and way of life. Tell them how to build shelter and how to cook their food. Last, provide an illustration of how their shelter could look.”

*Create a diorama of a Powahatan community with your small group. Use twigs, dirt, rocks, etc. found on the playground to create your diorama. (Provide glue, string, etc. at a resource table). Allow students to present their diorama to the class, then display them for a time in the classroom “museum.”

Closure- Ask students to tell you new information that they learned. Add this information to the “L” (Learned) section of your KWL chart. Ask students if they have come up with any other questions that they would like to have answered. This information will help guide your next lessons on early Native American life, which will then lead into lessons on Westward Expansion.

Extension Activity:

1. Read the following information (collected from the teachervision website below):

The Woodland Indians wore clothing made from animal skins and fur. Children wore clothing made from the skins of young deer called fawns. Adults were clothing made from the skins of deer, elk and moose.

Preparing the animal hide from making clothing was a long, hard job. It was done mostly by the women after the men had skinned the animals. First the skin was soaked in water for several days to soften it and make it easier to work with. The skin was taken from the water, wrung out, and laid over a log. Then, the women used sharp-edged stones to scrape off the hair and fat. This soaking and scraping was repeated until all the hair and fat were removed and the skin was smooth and soft.

Next, the animal skin was tanned by treating and smoking it over low burning fire embers. Smoking the skin gave it a warm tan color and protected it from being eaten by moths. Tanned deer hide is called “buckskin.” After smoking, the skin was stretched on a pole frame and scraped again until it was as soft as velvet. Only ten was the skin ready to be made into clothing.

The men of the Woodland Indian tribes usually wore only a breech-clout. A breech0clout was a length of deerskin looped over a leather cored or belt in back and in front. The women wore leather wrap-around skirts or dresses made of deerskin with fringed edges. Leggings, capes, and moccasins made from animal skins were worn by men, women and children for protection from the cold during winter months. Often the Woodland Indian women would embroider designs on their moccasins and dresses. To make the designs, they stitched on dyed porcupine quills and beads using bone needles and moose hair thread.

2. Hand out the “Woodland Boy and Girl Cutouts” and the Indian Boy and Girl Cutouts (found at: on pages 33-37). The students may color and cut out the boy or girl and the clothing cutouts.

3. Have the students write a simple explanation about a) how the clothing is made [using basic steps such as the animal is skinned, the hide is soaked and cleaned, the hide is stretched and then made into clothing. The women decorated the clothing with quills, bone needles, and moose hair thread).

4. The students can publish their writing by displaying their writing and the paper doll together on poster board, large construction paper, etc.


Research and informational sites on Native Americans:

More informational sites on Native Americans, with an emphasis on art:

A neat website where you can find a great deal of Native American information including: arts and crafts, tools, recipes, games, toys, etc.:

The article and woodland paper doll craft are found in this site, along with many other articles and activities (mostly for older grades):

(Coastal Boy and Girl cutouts pp. 33-37)
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