By Teachers, For Teachers
November is Native American Heritage Month. You can help students recognize the significant contributions Native Americans made to the establishment of the United States by having students partake in a variety of inspiring activities and classroom games.
Here are a few fun facts, classroom activities, classroom games, and books to help you teach your students about Native American cultures.
10 Fun Facts about Native Americans
Native American Contributions
Help students discover the many contributions that Native Americans have made by listing the following facts on the front board. Then, as an extension activity, ask students to imagine what the world would be like now without the contributions of the Native Americans. Have students write a brief description explaining what life would be like. You can prompt students by saying, "What would Thanksgiving dinner be like without a turkey or pumpkin pie?
Contributions from the Native Americans
Become a Native American Expert
Help students become a Native American history expert by having them research important facts about Native American culture. Divide students into small groups and assign each group a specific tribe to research. Kidsinfo.com and Bigorrin.org are great sites that have a lot of information on Native American tribes. Ask students to find information to answer the following questions:
If You Lived with the Indians
For this classroom game you need to read the story "If You Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast" by Anne Kamma. Before reading it, ask students to think about what life would be like if they lived with the Indians. How would it be different then their life today? While reading the story to the students, encourage them to take notes about important facts that they hear you read.
After the story, encourage students to share some of the facts they wrote down. Then, ask students to choose two facts and research a little more about them. For example, if a student learned about a specific food Native Americans ate in the story, they would research other foods that they ate. After students gathered their information, allow them to share their new facts with the class.
Exploring Native Americans through Literature
Keep the following five stories in your classroom library so students to can explore Native American culture even further.
How do you honor and celebrate Native American Heritage Month in your classroom? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers around the Globe.