Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A-maizing Facts

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This lesson is for Day 4 of the unit [Native Americans]. It focuses on using informational text to locate the Northeast Woodlands region and understanding how the climate, location, and physical surroundings of the region affected the way of life.


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).

The student understands ways climate, location, and physical surroundings affect the way people live (for example, food, clothing, shelter, transportation, recreation).


-Map Booklet Activity Sheet 2 (previously downloaded and copied in [Where, Oh Where] lesson plan)
-Map Booklet Activity Sheet 2 Key
-Scissors, one per student
-Student Map Symbols, one per student
-Glue or glue sticks, one per student
-Maize or ornamental corn


1. Gather materials.


Note: The terms "Cause" and "Effect" may be used synonymously with the terms "Fact" and "And so."

1. Review the physical criteria and map symbols of the Northeast Woodlands region. Also review previously made student predictions for this regions resources.

2. Hold up some maize and explain to the students that the Native Americans in the Northeast Woodlands region depended up corn for much of their food.

3. Explain that they could grow corn because the climate in that region was good for growing corn.

4. Tell students now that they have learned about the physical surroundings and climate of the Northeast Woodlands region they will determine how these things affected the way people lived in that region.

5. Using the corn as an example, model for the students how to note that the climate (rain symbol) of the Northeast Woodlands region affected the way of life by writing a “Fact/And so” analogy. For example:
Fact (Cause): The climate in this region was warm in the summer and cold in the winter. There was plenty of rain.
And so (Effect): The people could grow great crops of corn, squash, and beans.
Help students see the cause/effect relationship between the good climate and plentiful food supply.

6. Encourage students to look at the forest map symbol and see if they can note a “Fact/And so” analogy with it. Record student responses. An example might be:
Fact (Cause): There were many forests.
And so (Effect): The people used the wood from the forest to make their homes and canoes.

7. Students then use the bulletin board as informational text to complete Activity Sheet 2.
· They color only the region on the map that is identified as the Northeast Woodlands.
· Next, they complete the constructed response by identifying the region.
· Then they cut out the symbols for physical criteria of the Northeast Woodlands region from the Map Symbols (previously downloaded from an associated file).
· Glue the picture symbols for the region into the boxes.
· Finally, they complete a constructed response to note how the remaining physical criteria (rivers and lakes) affected the way of life of the Indians that lived in that region. Possible answers might include: And so: They ate fish and shellfish from the rivers and lakes; they used canoes to travel in the rivers and lakes; or they had plenty of water for their crops. Accept reasonable answers.

8. As a means of review, allow individual students to share their completed work.

9. The teacher collects the Map Booklets, formatively assesses Map Activity 2, and provides feedback to students. Feedback should be both guiding (Are you sure there were mesas in this region?) and positive (Great thinking! The rivers and lakes did provide needed water for their crops.)

Note: The purpose of this lesson is to model how to complete Map Activity Sheets and to provide practice in noting details. Activity sheets for other culture group regions will be done in subsequent lessons within this unit. During the Be An Expert lesson plan, the student in each group who is responsible for the Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate of the region will read the provided informational text and record facts about the topic on his/her Note Page. The student will then present those facts during Summative 1 on Day 8. Map symbols will be placed on the class map bulletin board. The student will post his/her Note Page on the class matrix. In future lessons all students will use some of the information provided during Summative 1 presentations to complete other Map Activity Sheets independently at a center.


Map Activity 2 will be used to formatively assess student understanding of ways the physical surroundings and climate of a region affect the way people live and student ability to read informational text to perform a task. Students should correctly identify the region as the Northeast Woodlands region. The symbols for physical criteria for the Northeast Woodlands region glued in the boxes should include symbols for forests, rain, and rivers and lakes. The constructed response should accurately reflect a way the physical criteria of rivers and lakes affected the way of life of the people in that region. Responses might include:

Fact: There were many lakes and rivers.
And so: They had plenty of water and could catch fish to eat.

Fact: There were many lakes and rivers.
And so: They built canoes to travel on the rivers and lakes.


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).

2. Students who have difficulty writing the constructed responses on Activity Sheet 2 could verbalize their responses to the teacher.

3. Some lessons only deal with one region and its culture. Once students have a base of knowledge, they can show they know similarities and differences among selected Native American cultures from different regions and times covered in the unit. This is summatively assessed at the end of the unit.

4. Cut the map symbols into strips for each culture group. Distribute the strips one at a time as needed rather than have students be responsible for keeping up with all the symbols.
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