Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Be An Expert
Bay District Schools
This lesson is for Days 5-7 of the unit [Native Americans]. Students will read informational texts to become “experts” on a Native American culture group. They will record notes and make a project to inform the class about their culture group.
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 knows some works of art that reflect the cultural heritage of the community or country (for example, paintings, statues).
The student understands ways climate, location, and physical surroundings affect the way people live (for example, food, clothing, shelter, transportation, recreation).
-Reference materials (a list of Suggested Books and Videos is in the associated file for Lesson 1 of this unit.)
-Informational texts on a second grade level about Native American culture groups (see extensions)
-Overhead transparency of Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate Note Page (in associated file)
-Poster board, one sheet per group
-Mural paper (bulletin board paper or white shelf paper) approximately 3’x5’, one per group
-Light colored construction paper shapes, circles, squares, triangles, or rectangles, about 3-4” in width or unlined 3-x5- index cards, markers or crayons, scissors, yarn or string, hole punch, and coat hangers to make mobiles, one set of supplies for each group
-Note Pages for Food, Shelter, Clothing, Art/Recreation, Transportation, and Physical Surroundings and Climate, one copy of each form per group (in associated file)
-Designated areas for small groups to work
-Matrix Headings(in associated file)
-Rubric for Notes, one teacher copy and a copy for each designated small group work area (in associated file)
-Checklist for Group Projects, one copy per small group (in associated file)
-Group Project Form (in associated file)
1. Gather age appropriate nonfiction books and reference materials about each Native American culture group from the school media center. A suggested list is in Lesson One of this unit, [Who Were the First Americans].
2. Download and make a copy of the Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate Note Page (in associated file) and then make an overhead transparency of it.
3. Make sample group projects (mural, poster, and mobile for different culture group regions).
4. If the provided informational texts will be used download and make one copy of each (see extensions). These are large files so allow ample time for them to download.
5. Gather other materials.
6. Set up designated areas for each group to work in. The areas should have plenty of reference materials for students to read and view. Organize reference materials and work areas by Native American culture group regions.
7. Download and make copies of Food, Shelter, Art/Recreation, Transportation, and Physical Surroundings and Climate Note Page(s), one of each for each group (in associated file).
8. Download and make a copy of each Matrix Heading and color code if desired(in associated file).
9. Display matrix headings either on the wall or on a bulletin board.
Note: This will need to be a large area, enough for each group and each topic to be displayed. The topic forms are to be printed on 8 ½” x 11” paper.
10. Download and make copies of the Rubric for Notes, one per group and one for the teacher to share with the class (in associated file).
11. Download and make a copy of the Checklist for Group Projects, one per group.
12. Display a copy of the Rubric for Notes and Checklist for Group Projects at each group’s designated work area.
13. Complete formative assessment of student Note Page(s) and Group Projects before Day 8.
14. Read Group Project Forms at the end of Day 5 and collect the necessary materials for each group’s project prior to Day 6.
1. Review climate, location, and physical surroundings of the Northeast Woodlands region.
2. Review vocabulary words on the Big Word chart introduced in Lesson 1.
3. Explain that because there is so much information about Native Americans you need the students to help you be the teacher.
4. Tell students that over the next few days they will be asked to become experts on a Native American culture group.
5. Explain that the students will be divided into small groups. Each group will read informational texts to learn about a group of Native Americans who lived in a particular region.
6. They will read these texts to find facts about one part of that culture group’s way of life. For example, they will be reading about how that culture group met its needs for food, shelter, art/recreation, or transportation or they may learn about the physical surroundings and climate of the region.
7. As they read, they will write down facts on a Note Page. Remind students of how the Fact/And So statements were noted in previous lessons. They will use the notes later to help them share the information with the class on Day 8 during Summative Assessment 1.
8. Divide the students into groups of 5, one student for each of the five topics. Assign each group to a Native American culture group region (Southeast Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast, and California Intermountain). Assign each student within each group a topic to become an expert on (food, shelter, art/recreation, transportation, or physical surroundings and climate). Five topics of information are provided for 5 different Native American culture group regions. Distribute the informational texts for the topics to the students (see extensions).
Note: If you do not have enough students to study all the culture group regions and topics, it is suggested that you omit the California Intermountain region from the Be An Expert Project.
9. Handout copies of Food, Shelter, Art/Recreation, Transportation, and Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate Note Page(s) to students (in associated file).
10. Using the overhead transparency of the Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate Note Page, model how the students will use the Note Page to record information they have read about their topic.
Note: You might want to use the information about the physical surroundings, location, and climate of the Northeast Woodlands Indians as they were exposed to that information in a previous lesson. For example, the form could read:
There were many forests here.
The climate was warm in the summer and cold in the winter.
It rained a lot.
There were many rivers and lakes.
Note - Due to your number of students, completing the matrix for this culture group may be optional. See Extensions for other options.
11. Share the Rubric for Notes (in associated file) with the students, making sure they understand what is expected. Remind students that the Note Pages are not just for recording facts, but also to help them speak to the class during Summative Assessment 1. The teacher should post a copy of the Rubric for Notes at each designated small group work area.
12. Point to the Matrix headings displayed in the classroom and explain the method of color coding. Explain that a matrix is a way of arranging lots of information in columns and rows. Point to and identify the rows on the left side (with the headings Northeast Woodlands, Southeast Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, California Intermountain, and Northwest Coast) and the columns at the top of the display (with the headings Food, Shelter, Art/Recreation, Transportation, and Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate. Tell students that their Note Pages will be added to the matrix after they share with the class.
13. The matrix will be an informational text for students to refer back to when the class discusses how the groups were alike and different. Ask if there are any questions.
14. Students go to designated areas and begin reading informational texts to acquire facts about their topics. Students may use the provided informational texts (see extensions) and/or nonfiction books that are available from the school library. They record three facts on their note pages.
15. The teacher facilitates this activity by walking around from group to group and offering formative feedback, using the rubric as necessary. It might be necessary to pair students of lesser reading ability with more capable students and have the partners read the provided information together.
Note: The teacher needs to make sure the student who is reporting on Physical Surroundings, Location, and Climate includes the facts that match the Map Symbols for that region in his/her notes. When the student makes his/her presentation, he/she can place the symbols for that region on the class bulletin board map, as the teacher did for the Northeast Woodlands region on Day 2 of this unit.
16. After a designated amount of time (10 - 15 minutes is suggested), the teacher should either collect the note pages or instruct students to put them in a designated place so they will be readily available for the next day.
17. Tell students they will also create a group project to share with the class. They may choose to make a mural, a poster, or a mobile. Each project will include:
· Title of the culture group region
· Pictures or facts about the physical surroundings, location, and climate of the region
· Pictures or facts to show how the physical surroundings, location, and climate affected the way of life
The teacher shows possible examples of each type of project that she has created as models. For example, a mobile could be made out of a coat hanger. The title of the culture group region is taped to the top below the hook. Another strip could be taped on the bottom of the coat hanger with the subheadings food, shelter, art/recreation, transportation, and physical surroundings, location, and climate. Students could draw pictures on 3x5 index cards to illustrate facts for each heading and then attach them lengthwise under the headings.
Note: The teacher should feel free to substitute similar activities that would accomplish the same goals of:
1) Helping students understand similarities and differences of select Native American culture groups from different regions and times
2) Knowing some works of art that reflect the cultural heritage of the community or country and
3) Understanding ways climate, location, and physical surroundings affect the way people live.
For example, other choices might include making a Big Book, creating puppets and using them to tell about their topics, creating a model of an Indian community from a particular region, etc.
18. The teacher shares the Checklist for Group Projects (in associated file) with students and discusses the criteria for the project. The main idea is for each student to add what he/she has learned about his topic to the project in some way.
19. Students in each group decide what kind of project they will do. They complete the Group Project Form and return it to the teacher. The teacher uses the information on the forms to make sure each group has made a decision and to set up materials for the following day’s lesson. The teacher provides formative feedback that is both positive and guiding to groups. Positive feedback might include statements such as “Your group did a wonderful job. Everyone contributed.” Guiding feedback might include “I see how the Plains Indians met their needs for food and shelter, but what was their way of transportation?”
20. Remind students that they will have more time to work on their Note Pages and group projects tomorrow.
1. Review the process of reading informational texts and taking notes.
2. Students pick up where they left off on the previous day.
3. Provide 10-15 minutes for reading informational texts and writing notes. Take up the completed Note Page(s) and provide formative feedback as necessary.
4. Explain it is now time for the groups to work on their projects. Remind students that each person in the group should contribute something to the project that will tell a fact about his/her topic.
5. Allow about 15-20 minutes for the groups to work on projects.
6. Before the day is over quickly assess student Note Pages and group projects and provide formative feedback using the Rubric for Notes and Checklist for Group Projects (in associated file). Feedback should be both guiding (You only wrote two facts. See if you can find one more.) and positive (Great job! You wrote all your facts in complete sentences.).
1. Review criteria for Note Pages and Group Projects.
2. Tell students this is the last day they will work on them. They need to finish them in today’s session.
3. Return Note Pages to students and discuss any questions students might have concerning the teacher’s formative feedback. This would also be a good time to have brief individual conferences with students who require additional help.
4. Allow 30 minutes for students to finish Note Pages and group projects.
5. Students turn in Note Pages and group projects.
6. The teacher formatively assesses the Note Pages and group projects using the Rubric for Notes and the Checklist for Group Projects before the next school day.
7. The teacher returns formative feedback for Note Pages and Group Projects and posts student Note Pages on the class matrix.
Use the Rubric for Notes (in associated file) as the criteria to formatively assess student performance and provide feedback to the students before using their Note Pages for class presentations in Summative Assessment 1 on Day 8.
Formatively assess group projects using the Checklist for Group Projects (in associated file) as the criteria to provide formative feedback to groups.
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 could verbally record what they have read on a cassette tape or type them in a word processing program on the computer.
3. Students who have computer skills could use computer graphics to generate pictures for their group mobiles or posters.
4. A color coding system could be used for group posters and matrix culture group headings.
5. Options for Step 10 of Procedures might include: 1)Divide students into small groups and have each group read informational text about one of the remaining topics about the Northeast Woodland culture group(food, shelter, transportation, art/recreation)and practice note taking on a chart. 2) Assign the other four topics to advanced students as an extension. 3)Encourage students to locate information concerning the topics independently and add their notes to the class matrix.
6. It might be beneficial to have students write a rough draft of their notes on notebook paper. Water-based markers to match the color of their culture group could be used on final drafts.