Travel guides to colonial america

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Teaching American History 2

For Participants in the Summer Institute, 2007

Colonial Communities and Institutions

Grade 5
Description of the Travel Guide

In groups, teachers in the Summer Institute will produce Travel Guides to various regions of Colonial America. These travel guides will serve as resources/models for 5th grade students, who will in turn do their own research and create their own guides. Each Travel Guide will focus on one of these geographical areas (from HSS standard 5.1): the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast /Atlantic Coast, the Mississippi Corridor, and the Desert Southwest. The Travel Guides will contain descriptions of the communities that developed and changed over a period of approximately 300 (1500 to the early 1800s) in each region.
Travel Guide Chapters

  • There are three chapters in each regional Travel Guide. The chapters focus on these chronological eras in the region (approximately; may change slightly from group to group):

Chapter 1: 1500s

Chapter 2: 1600s

Chapter 3: 1700s

  • Each chapter describes:

a. the various cultural groups that lived in that area during the target time period (HSS 5.1, 5.2, 5.3)

b. the environment and resources of the area, as well as the political, cultural, social, and economic institutions that evolved and changed over the time period (HSS 5.1, 5.3, 5.4) as new people arrived and the communities grew.

Culminating Activity:
In addition to completing the Travel Guide (written component),

each group will present a travelogue about their region, including a multi-part diorama (visual component) and a series of 3 narratives (oral component).

Lesson Plan for


Pacific Northwest Native American Tribes in the 1700’s


Alex Z. Moores

Jen Schwantes

Cat Dunne

Nola Montgomery
Teaching American History 2

Summer Institute 2007

I. Lesson objective:

Students will create their own travel guides and travelogues, demonstrating that they understand the economic, social, cultural, environmental and political factors that influenced the people living in various regions of North America during the colonial era, and the ways communities changed and evolved over that time period. Students will be working in groups to complete individual tasks, share out with their peers, and to create a final product together.

II. Standards addressed
a. History/Social Studies: 5.1, 5.2.4, 5.3, 5.4

b. English/Language Arts: R 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5; W 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.3; LC 1.0; LS 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, S 2.1, 2.2

III. Instructional Activities
a. Into
1. Introduce geography: Using a map of North America, point out areas that were claimed by various European powers. Show the location of the specific region and community they will be studying.

2. If you have a class timeline, show where the focus time period is located and mark it on the timeline.

3. Show film clip or pictures showing the type of environment in the region. Have the students say what environmental features and resources they see in the film or pictures; write their responses on chart paper.

4. Ask students to talk to a partner about these questions: "What would be good about living in this place? What would be bad?" Discuss their responses.

5. Continue to set the stage and build interest by letting them know generally what they will be learning about: explain a little about the community, the overall political situation in the region during the time period, some intriguing questions and facts, etc. If you wish, do a KWL chart.

6. Explain the final project: show them a completed Travel Guide as a model, give a short narration as an example of their oral presentations, and explain the diorama project. It would be good to show them a completed diorama as an example, or a slide of one.

7. Introduce vocabulary: some or all of the underlined words in all the Information Sheets (see Resources.) Post them on your focus wall along with pictures, synonyms, antonyms and/or realia. Continue to refer to these words throughout the lesson. Below is one technique you can use to teach the academic vocabulary.

  1. Create a PowerPoint presentation using the academic vocabulary.

  2. Display the word, define it, and then show a picture of the word.

  3. Provide the students with note taking guides for the words.

  4. Continue to refer back to the PowerPoint slides as the unit progresses.

b. Through

1. Students will work in 5 groups to research one of these themes: economy, environment, culture, society or politics in the focus region during the focus century. Form groups and pass out the rubric, the note-taking guides and e-sheets to each one. You might give them each a two-pocket folder to keep everything in.

2. Differentiation: below is one strategy you can use to adapt your lesson for EL, Special Populations, or Challenge students, or those with different learning modalities (kinesthetic, musical, visual, mechanical, etc.)

  1. Provide note taking guides written lecture notes, and graphic organizers to help all students, especially EL students.

3. Allow students time to research their particular theme. They can use websites, books, primary documents and pictures supplied by the teacher. They should record information they find on their e-sheets using the websites specified, and/or on their note-taking guides. Teacher should help students skim and scan books for information; using District/School approved methods and techniques for accessing expository text.

4. After they have had time to do their own research, teacher may choose to give each group, or certain groups, a copy of the teacher-made Information Sheet on the group's theme. They can use it to add to, correct, and/or edit their information for accuracy (NOT to copy the information!).

5. Student groups use the information in their note guides and e-sheets to write their “chapters” of the Travel Guide on the theme they researched. These will be similar in format and content to the teacher-made Information Sheets. Here you can refer to the lesson in the Houghton Mifflin 5th grade Language Arts text for a "Research Report," found in the Reading/Writing Workshop for Theme 5, "One Land, Many Trails."

6. Students prepare short oral reports/narratives based on their research. Here you can refer to the lesson for an "Oral Report" found in Selection 3 of Theme 5 in the 5th grade H.M. Language Arts text.

7. Student groups create multi-part dioramas illustrating the ways in which the environment, economy, society, culture or politics changed and evolved during the time period. They may draw, or create replicas of, images and artifacts.

8. Each group's final product will have three parts: (1) and (2), the diorama and oral presentation (“Travelogue”), and (3) the written "Travel Guide" itself.
c. Beyond

1. ASSESSMENT: All of the student groups present their Travelogues to the rest of the class at the same time in a gallery-walk format. One or two students from each group remain at the diorama and give the oral report on their theme; members of the other groups are assigned to listen to them. At a signal from the teacher, students switch so all have a chance to give the report and see all the dioramas. Students who are listening use the Student Evaluation Rubric to assess their peers' presentations.

2. Teachers can use rubrics in the adopted Language Arts text to score the written Travel Guide.

3. After the groups have presented, and everything is scored, all of the "chapters" can be stapled together to make a class book, "Travel Guide to......"

4. Students can find out what is happening in their geographic region today by searching newspapers, the web, magazines, etc. for information about current people, or environmental/economic/societal/political issues. Create an interactive bulletin board with information that students bring in.

5. Is there an important environmental issue faced by the region today that your students could investigate? Can you link that to the 5th grade science standards?

IV. Resources

A list of all the texts, research books, websites, magazine articles, pictures, videos, posters, artifacts, etc. that are needed for this lesson.


  1. Lecture and interview with Margaret Purser

  2. Reflections 5th grade text, Harcourt School Publishers

  3. Indians of the Northwest, Petra Press, 2000 Gareth Stevens Publishing, WI

  4. America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage, The Readers Digest Assoc., Inc., 1978, 1984 New York

  5. Culture at

  6. Totem Poles at

  7. Potlatch at

  8. Makah Canoes at

  9. Makah Whaling Traditions at


  11. Native American Tribes at



  14. Vancouver National historic Site at

  15. Wikipedia at

  16. The Makah Tribe at

  17. Brittany Billmaier.  The Life of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest: Then & Now at

V. Attachments

1. Student rubric: use the one attached below.

2. Student e-sheets: attach your e-sheets below

3. Teacher-made information sheets on these themes: attach your information sheets below.
a. Economy

b. Society

c. Culture

d. Environment

e. Politics

4. Other
Pacific Northwest: Politics in the 1700’s

Chiefs governed, or controlled, the communities of the Pacific Northwest. In order to be chosen as a chief, one must be a highly respected male that comes from an upper class family. There were many chiefs that led all of the different tribes, or small villages of Native Americans. But, there was only one chief that was elected to lead the entire nation of tribes. This form of government is called a complex chiefdom, or a group of individual chiefs of tribes ruled by a single chief.

The chief was the most powerful person of each tribe. The chief was in charge of most or all of the decision making for the tribe. He decided how the fish catch was to be divided among the families. He also made decisions concerning the potlatch, which was a ceremonial distribution of gifts. The chief was also in charge of disputes between members of the tribe.

The elders of each family made the rules for the individuals in that family. The rules were meant to keep order in the family and therefore in the tribe. The head of the family made sure the rules were followed and the consequences of breaking the rules were given.

If a tribe member had a problem with a rule or with another member outside of their family, then that member would first address the issue to a sub-chief. There were many sub-chiefs below the head-chief. The sub-chief would then decide if the issue was relevant to the council of sub-chiefs or to the head-chief. If so, then the problem would be dealt with.

Unfortunately, the politics, or the way decisions are made in a government, changed in 1788. This is the year that John Mears landed in the Pacific Northwest and made the first European contact with the tribes of this area. In 1790 a Spanish settlement was built, but only lasted a couple of years. Then, in 1792 Captain George Vancouver charted the area. This was a significant event for the tribes of the area because it was a short time afterwards in which Fort Vancouver was established and Europeans began to establish a new political system. After 1825, the tribes of the Pacific Northwest never had political control of the area again.


  1. Wikipedia at

  2. The Makah Tribe at

3. Native American Peoples of the Pacific Northwest at

4. Lecture and interview by Margaret Purser

Group Member: __________ ____________

Date: ____________ __________

Politics of the Pacific Northwest

Native Americans, 1700’s

State Standard: 5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.

Task One: Click on Makah Politics and click on Ancient Cultures. Then, answer the following questions.
1. Who governed and made rules for the family?

2. What happened at the potlatches and why do you think the potlatches were so important to the society?

Now, scroll down to Historic Cultures. Answer the following question.
3. Do you think the Makah made a good decision by signing the Treaty of Neah Bay? Why or why not? Explain with at least two reasons.

Task Two: Click on Chiefdoms
1. In a chiefdom, what can affect people’s social status?

2. How are food and goods distributed among social classes?

3. Were chiefdoms a stable or unstable political system? Why? Give at least two reasons.

Pacific Northwest

Society in the 1700’s

Society in the 1700’s for the Native American tribes living in the Pacific Northwest was much different than our society today. Family life was more communal and set on a larger scale. Men, women, and children had much more rigid roles in the society. Property, politics, and how older people are treated vary from their society to ours.

First of all, families lived in longhouses that were made of wooden planks. They lived in familial groups of 40 to 50 people in one house. Many families lived together under one roof making the house a home to a large, extended family. The elders were treated as living legends and were well respected. The males of the home had the most power as far as who made the decisions. Men could also become chiefs, which were the highest political component of the society. The male chiefs and sub-chiefs made the major decisions and rule making for the society. But, women were also revered because lineage was passed from the women’s family. For the most part, men and women were fairly equal. Power and status had more to do with the family’s lineage and status, rather than between the two genders.

Adults in the family had many different roles. Jobs depended upon the social status of the family, parental occupation, and gender. Men could be hunters, fisherman, canoe builders, and chiefs. Women could gather plants and shellfish. They could make food and dry salmon. The family someone was born into affected that person’s role in the community. It was a hierarchal society, so if someone were born into a lower class family, that person would take a lower role in the society.

The children in the community were raised by all of the women in the family. It was a very communal upbringing. Children often helped the women with their chores or the elders with their tasks. Girls came to age at about 14, while boys came to age at about 16. At this time, the boys and girls would follow their respective parent and learn the family trade.

Food, gifts, and property were distributed through potlatches. These potlatches were a way for the higher classes to give back to the lower classes. The family you were born into predetermined the role and class that you belonged to in society. This meant that you couldn’t change your status in the community.

But, this all changed in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s when the Europeans arrived. They established trade via the fur trade. Members of the lower class in the society could now become successful at hunting beaver and otter and trade their way to higher possessions and wealth.


  1. Lecture and interview by Margaret Purser

  2. Native American Peoples of the Pacific Northwest at

Group Member: ___________ ____________

Date: _____________ __________

Society of the Pacific Northwest

Native Americans, 1700’s

State Standard: 5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.

Task One: Click on Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest and scroll down to Housing. Then, answer the following questions.
1. Who lived in the longhouses? Which family members lived there?

2. How was the status of the family displayed outside of the houses?

3. What was carved onto the totem poles?

Task Two: Scroll down to Food. Answer the following questions.
1. Name two occupations of the men.

2. Name two occupations of the women.

3. Read about how the meals were served and who was served first. What does the process for the meal tell you about men and women in the society?

Pacific Northwest

Environment of the 1700’s

At first glance the rugged environment of the Pacific Northwest appears harsh and inhospitable, but is actually a region of plenty. It has an ideal climate, offering cool summers and mild winters with lots of heavy rains brought on by cool ocean winds. Near the water’s edge tall thickly wooded forests of fir, spruce, and cedar trees dominate the area and provide habitat for a variety of animals. A little further inland open grasslands and prairies dot the Willamette Valley. Rivers and streams snake throughout the area.

In the spring and fall Indians lived near the rivers and used them for fishing, transportation, and trade. In the summer they moved nearer to the ocean and armed with harpoons would row their large wooden canoes called dugouts into the waves to hunt for whales. In the winter they would move inland into longhouses and eat dried salmon and berries.

The Indians respected and understood what valuable resources the ocean, its estuaries and wetland were. The forests and rivers were valued as well for the wood that was used to make things and the fat game and fish that could be hunted and fished for year around. Often there was extra food and art objects made of wood. They would celebrate this wealth with a potlatch ceremony where a village chief proved his wealth and generosity by giving gifts to his guests.

The Indians understood the ebb and flow of the ocean tides and used them to their advantage. Heavy winter winds, rains, and possible flooding were not environmental problems because they placed their housing out of harms way and prepared their winter food supply in advance. Rugged terrain made overland travel by foot or horse difficult, so waterways were used instead.


1. Reflections 5th grade text, Harcourt School Publishers

2. Vancouver National historic Site

Group Members: _______________ ________

Date: ________________________

Environment of the Pacific Northwest

Native Americans, 1700’s

State Standard: HSS 5.1.1 Describe how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment, including locations of villages, the distinct structures that they built, and how they obtained food clothing, tools and utensils.

Task One: After reading about the Makah Whaling Tradition at answer the following questions
1. Name five things the Makah got from the whales they hunted.
2. How was Yew wood and sealskins used in the harpoon?
3. What things found in nature did the Makah use to make their harpoon heads?
Task Two: Read about canoes at and answer the following questions.

1. What kind of wood did the Makah use to make their canoe?

2. How did they flare out the sides of the canoe?
3. For their safety what signs in nature was it important for the Makah to understand?

Task Three: Read the Essay by Ann M. Renker, Ph.D. at and answer the following questions.

1. Name the sources that we get our understandings about ancient Makah culture from.
2. What catastrophic event happened in the 1700’s that helped preserve artifacts and information about the Makah way of life?
3. What resources in their environment did the Makah make use of?

Pacific Northwest

Culture of the 1700’s-1800’s

The Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest had very highly developed cultures. Although not a terribly religious group, they shared their world with spirits that took on many forms, including rocks, trees, animals, sun, moon, lakes, rivers, and wind. People could communicate with these spirits in dreams and trances. There was a comfortable spiritual existence after death, and spirits returned to earth as another life. A few men were believed to be more in touch with spirits than others. These men, known as shamans, would predict the future, had curative powers, and could influence certain aspects of lives such as love, war, health, hunting, and gambling. Shaman were considered elite and lived separate from other villagers. Strong positive spirits could be helpful, but some spirits were evil. Humans and nature were intertwined and the animals hunted for food possessed spirits that would inflict harm if not treated with the proper respect.

Natives of the Pacific Northwest depended on salmon for food and legends about the fish were a part of their culture. They believed salmon were actually immortal men who lived in houses beneath the sea during the winter. Then in the late spring, they would assume the form of fish, swarming up the rivers in huge numbers to offer themselves to humans for food. Salmon bones had to be carefully returned to the place where the fish was caught so the Salmon People would not be offended and the bones could be carried out to sea. They could then be reborn as Salmon People until the next spring when they would again become salmon fish. In this society, a person born with a missing finger or other part was revered as someone sent by the salmon people. The missing part was bones that humans had neglected to return.

Forests were another important part of their culture. Wood carving artifacts depict clans and society and show how skilled these artisans were. Carvings were primarily created men, and typically included red and black colors. Carved wood totem poles represented people, animals, and monsters, and signified family/clan heritage, in ascending order of status. They were used to decorate everything from chests to homes. Sometimes a large totem pole was placed as a front door entrance with a space carved out for the door.

Pacific Northwestern tribes fished and hunted during spring and summer then stored their food for winter. This left them lots of time to socialize and celebrate during winter. They held salmon festivals, nomatsa dances and other events, which included dance, dramatic presentations and music. The Pacific Northwest culture placed an enormously high value on the acquisition of wealth. The most important occasion was a potlatch, a mammoth feast given by a house of one clan to honor another. The potlatch could last for several days and include many guests. The host would display his wealth and status by giving food and valuable gifts to his guests. It sometimes took years to prepare for the potlatch and accumulate enough gifts to give everyone who came.


1. Indians of the Northwest, Petra Press, 2000 Gareth Stevens Publishing, WI

2. America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage, The Readers Digest Assoc., Inc., 1978, 1984 New York

Group Members: _________________________

Date: _________________________

Culture of the Pacific Northwest

Native Americans, 1700's

State Standard: 5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.

Task One: Go to this website: Culture and read about artistry of the Pacific Northwest tribes.
1. These people believed in supernatural spirits. Describe how they expressed this in their art.

2. Write a general statement about their religious beliefs in relation to nature, spirits, and afterlife.

Task Two: You will now compare and contrast information from two different sites.
1. Totem Poles How does this description of totem poles differ from the totem pole description in the website of Task One?
2. Write a general statement about the significance and use of totem poles.

Task Three: Each of the Pacific Northwest Indian groups celebrated with a potlatch. Potlatch
1. What was the main purpose of this celebration and who was included?
2. What did gift giving signify and how was it determined who received gifts?
3. After reading this selection, describe how these potlaches and gift-giving embodied social consequences for these groups.

Pacific Northwest

Economy of the 1700’s

The Native Americans focused on is the Makah tribe in the 1700-1800's.

Resources available to them came from two sources, land and the sea. They were hunters and gatherers, but had a large dependence on the sea. In fact, the ocean provided their main sources of food, which were salmon and halibut. The seals and sea otters provided clothing. The cedar trees provided wood for canoes and longhouses. Basketry evolved from the use of the land resources. These resources, described above, were used in the community as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, trade, and entertainment.

The Makah tribe had their needs met due to their environmental location.

They were able to live well off of land and sea. When they traded, it was for products they wanted, not needed. Most likely there was trade between other tribes, but documentation shows in the late 1700's trade began with Europeans. In fact, the first European ship to have reached the Strait of Juan de Fuca was in 1741.

Captain James Cook and Captain George Vancouver were two notable Europeans who explored the area and eventually traded with the local people. Sea otter pelts were highly coveted by Asian and European merchants. Canoes were used to enable the Makah people to get to where the transaction of trades often occurred. In the 1800's, fishing, whaling, sealing, and basketry became their sources of living. Trading items included whale and seal oil, whalebone, dried halibut, sea otter pelts, and dentalin shells. How the Makah tribe traded in the 1700's, along with any rules, is not found in documentation.







Group Member: __________ ____________

Date: ____________ __________

Economics of the Pacific Northwest

Native Americans, 1700’s

State Standard: 5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.

Task One: Click on Trade. Then, answer the following questions.
1. Why was the finding of baskets made by faraway Native American societies in Makah villages so important to explaining Makah trade?

2. What types of items might the Makah have traded away?

Task Two: Click on Pacific Northwest Trade
1. What was the coastal economy primarily based upon?

2. Why would Native Americans of this region not be forced to trade for food?

3. What were some of the items that these Native Americans made that they could then trade away?

Student Name: ________________


Which group are you evaluating?

___ politics ___ environment

___ economy ___ society ___ culture
As you look at this group's diorama and listen to them talk, answer these questions:
1. What did you learn from the group's oral presentation?
2. What questions do you have after hearing the oral presentation?
3. Does the diorama show how the community changed because of the influence of the group's theme?
Yes_____ No______
5. What things in the diorama show the changes?

6. What is missing from the diorama, or what questions do you have about it?

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