Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where, Oh Where

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This lesson is for Day 3 of the unit [Native Americans]. It focuses on using informational texts to locate different Native American culture group regions.


The student reads informational texts for specific purposes (including but not limited to performing a task, learning a new task, sequentially carrying out the steps of a procedure, locating information to answer a question).

The student knows similarities and differences among selected Native American cultures from different regions and times (for example, nomadic groups, agricultural groups, city building, relationship with the environment).


-Transparency of a map of Native American culture group regions (in associated file)
-Overhead projector
-Vis-à-vis pens (2-3 different colors) for overhead transparency
-Student booklets with copies of Map Booklet Activity Sheets for each culture group region (in associated file)
-Map Key, one copy for teacher reference (in associated file)
-Map Booklet Activity Sheet Keys, one copy of each for teacher reference (in associated file)
-Bulletin Board Symbols (in associated file)
-Bulletin board with a map of Native American culture group regions (done in previous lesson, [Who Were the First Americans?])
-Big Word display
-Markers for Big Word display
-Crayons, 6 for each student
-Construction paper for Map Booklet covers (light color is preferable), one 12”x 18” piece per student
-Stapler and staples
-Small zip lock bag, one per student and one for the Bulletin Board Symbols
-Scissors, one per student
-Glue or glue sticks, one per student
-Samples of informational text (nonfiction books, charts, posters, transparencies, maps, newspapers, booklets, pictures, etc.)


1. Download and make a transparency of the Map Transparency prior to beginning this lesson (in associated file).
2. Download and make a copy of the Bulletin Board Symbols for each region to be used on the class map prior to beginning this lesson (in associated file).
3. Glue the Bulletin Board Symbols onto a construction paper backing and laminate them. Cut around each symbol. Only the ones for the Eastern Woodlands region will be used for this lesson plan. The others can be kept in a zip lock bag for future use.
4. Download and make copies of Map Booklet Activity Sheets and Student Map Symbols, one copy of each per student (in associated file).
5. Download and make one copy of the Map Key for teacher reference (in associated file).
6. Assemble Map Booklets. Fold 12”x18” construction paper and insert map activity sheets into the fold. Staple the cover and activity sheets together at the folded top edge.

Note: Do not include Map Symbols page in the booklet. It has the symbols of physical criteria for each region, which need to be cut and glued on Activity Sheets throughout the study.

7. Gather materials.
8. Be sure the bulletin board has been created prior to this lesson. Helpful Hint: Color code the symbols used on the bulletin board the same color as the color key used in procedure 18, by backing them with the appropriate color of construction paper.


1. Remind students that previously the class viewed a PowerPoint presentation about the first Americans. The first Americans can be called Indians or Native Americans. Point out that they were first called Indians because when Columbus came to America he thought he had landed in India. Thus he called the natives who lived here Indians.

2. Review vocabulary words on the Big Word display.

3. Review the region where the students live and the physical characteristics of it.

4. Draw attention to the bulletin board display of the Map Transparency (created in previous lesson) with culture group regions outlined on the map, but not labeled. If time, allow students to predict what resources each region might have. List them on a chart or the board to refer to as the unit progresses.

5. Explain that just as the students live in a certain region, Native American culture groups lived in regions, too.

6. Tell students today they will learn to identify regions where Native Americans lived long ago.

4. Display the Map Transparency of Native American culture group regions (in associated file).

5. Locate the Eastern Woodlands region and tell students that it is called this because it is the area or region where the Eastern Woodlands Indians lived. Explain that this region is so big and covers so much land that it could be divided into two parts, the Northeast Woodlands and the Southeast Woodlands. Draw attention to the line dividing the Eastern Woodland regions on the map. Tell students they will learn about the Northeast Woodlands region today.

6. Describe the location, climate, and physical surroundings of the Northeast Woodlands region.
· There were a lot of forests and the people got almost everything they needed from the forests.
· There were plenty of animals to hunt for food.
· They used deerskins to make clothing.
· They used wood from the trees to make their homes and canoes for transportation.
· The climate was warm in the summer and cold in the winter.
· There was plenty of rainfall.
· Because of the moderate climate many animals could live in the forests and the people could grow crops. They grew corn, squash, and beans. They called these three crops the “Three Sisters”.
· There were many lakes and rivers so they had plenty of water. They used nets and spears to get fish from the lakes and rivers.
· Indians who lived in this region had plenty of food because of the climate and natural resources.

7. Place the label for Northeast Woodlands on the bulletin board map (in associated file).

8. Call on student volunteers to place the 3 Bulletin Board Symbols for the Northeast Woodlands Region taught (in associated file) on the map (in the northern portion of the region), making sure you review how each one affected the way people in that region lived. Quickly review the predictions made in #4 concerning the Northeast Woodlands Region and compliment students on thinking of appropriate resources.

9. Explain that the Northeast Woodlands is just one of the Native American culture group regions. Continue by identifying each of the other Native American culture group regions on the overhead transparency. Write the names of the regions in the appropriate areas on the overhead transparency map with a Vis à Vis pen. A Map Key for teacher reference is provided in the associated file.

10. Define informational text as printed words that tell steps to complete a task or information or facts about subjects or topics. Explain that informational text can be found in many different forms. The teacher shares examples of informational texts which she/he has collected. Examples might include information on a map, information on a TV screen, information on an overhead transparency, information in a book, information on a chart or table, information in the newspaper. Allow time for discussion.

11. Explain that the overhead transparency the teacher used to identify the Native American culture group regions can also be used as an informational text to help students label the Native American culture group regions on the class bulletin board.

12. Ask volunteers to use the overhead transparency (as an informational text) to add the labels to the bulletin board map.

13. Tell students that in the next few days they will read informational text to learn about the climate, location, and physical surroundings of each of the regions. There is so much information about each region students will become experts about them by reading informational texts and then report back to the class.

14. Explain that now the students will have an opportunity to practice using what they have learned today.

15. Pass out student Map Booklets.

16. Ask students to open their Map Booklets to Activity Sheet 1.

17. Instruct students to read the bulletin board map and use it (as informational text) to make a key for Activity Sheet 1 in their map booklets.

18. Tell them to take out 6 crayons. They are to color each box at the bottom of the page a different color. (If you establish and share a class color key for the entire class to use, it will make assessing their work much easier.)

19. Then they are to look at the bulletin board map to see where each region is located.

20. Finally, they are to use the color key to color that region the same color on their map.

21. The teacher models this procedure on the overhead and the students complete the first color key box and region together.

22. Students complete the color key and coloring of culture group regions on Activity Sheet 1.

23. Map Activity Sheet 1 is taken up. The teacher uses it to formatively assess student ability to read informational text to perform a task and student understanding of similarities and differences of select Native American culture groups from different regions and times. The regions on the map should be colored correctly according to the map key. Feedback should be both positive (Great job! You labeled all the regions correctly!) and guiding (Be careful. Is this the Plains region or the Southwest region?).

24. The class reviews the six regions by rereading the names from the overhead transparency.

25. To give students an inkling of what is to come, tell them there are many facts about Native Americans, so many that the teacher cannot possibly do it all. It will be necessary for the students to help. Instead of the teacher telling all the facts, the students will each learn some facts and then share what they have learned with the class. In days to come, they will become “experts” about a certain topic and be the teacher.


The teacher uses Activity Sheet 1 in the Map Booklets to formatively assess student ability to read informational text to perform a task and student understanding of similarities and differences of select Native American cultures from different regions and times. The students should read the bulletin board to correctly identify the regions on Map Activity Sheet 1. Regions should be colored correctly according to the student’s map key.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL:
Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
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