Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Different Tribes, Different Times

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This lesson plan is for Day 10 of the unit [Native Americans]. Students will be actively involved in center activities utilizing informational texts to focus more in depth on Native American culture groups from different regions and times.


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).


-Transparency of the Timeline (in associated file)
-Overhead projector
-Designated Center Areas
-Display area for adobe models done in Center 1
-Clay sample for Center 1
-Map symbols for class bulletin board (previously downloaded and copied in Lesson Plan 2, [Where, Oh Where], of this unit)
-Map booklets (created in Lesson Plan 2, [Where, Oh Where], of this unit)
-Student Map Symbols, used previously on Day 2 of the unit (in associated file)
-{A New True Book: The Anasazi], by David Petersen.
-Printed Instructions for Centers (in associated file)
-Rectangular pieces of packing Styrofoam for each group (the large pieces that surround a computer monitor or other large appliance in packing boxes); these could possibly be found at computer stores or appliance stores.
-Watercolor markers for Center 1
-Modeling clay, enough for each student to make a small bowl
-Popsicle sticks, one per student
-Waxed paper, about one 6”x 6” square per student
-Plastic placemats or covering to protect the tables where students will be working with the modeling clay
-Pencils for each center
-Small tree stems and branches, 3-4 per student
-Variety of white and colored construction paper, enough for students in each group to create some plants and animals of the Southwest region for their adobe homes display in Center 1
-Several magazine pictures or posters of desert landscapes
-Scissors for Centers 1, 3, and 4
-Glue for Center 1
-Glue or glue sticks for Centers 3 and 4
-Clear plastic cups (about 8-10 oz.), one per student
-Potting soil, about 3/4 cup per student
-Corn seeds, 2-3 per student (popcorn seeds will do)
-A small watering container that the students could use to water their corn seeds
-Corn Cycle Worksheet (in associated file)
-Video, [Native Americans: People of the Desert] by Rainbow Educational Media
-Center Checklist (in associated file)
-Student Web Lesson [Different Tribes, Different Times] (see Weblinks)


1. Download and make a transparency of the Timeline (in associated file).
2. Download and make a copy of the instructions for each center activity (in associated file).
3. Download and make copies of the Corn Cycle Worksheet (in associated file), one per student.
4. Download and make a copy of Center Checklist (in associated file).
5. Gather materials.
6. Use a Sharpie and label the clear plastic cups for the corn seeds with student names.
7. Set up centers. Remember to post instructions for each activity at the centers.
8. Peruse Weblinks to see if there is any information or pictures that could be shared with the students.
9. Preview and bookmark the Student Web Lesson [Different Tribes, Different Times].


Note: Summative 2 (see extensions) should be administered prior to this lesson.

1. Review vocabulary words on the Big Word Chart.

2. Remind students about the class bulletin board of Native American culture group regions. Review the symbols on the map for the Northeast Woodlands region.

3. Tell students that the next few days they will be learning more about certain groups of Native Americans that lived in different regions and different times.

4. Review the locations of the Southwest region, the Plains region, and the Southeast Woodlands region on the class map bulletin board.

5. Discuss the physical surroundings and climate of the Southwest region and how they affected the lives of the people who lived there making sure to cover the following:
· It was hot and dry. Water was precious. The Anasazi learned how to dig ditches to collect water for their crops.
· There were a lot of stone cliffs. The Anasazi took advantage of them by carving their homes in them. The cliff dwellings provided them with protection from their enemies.
· There were a lot of mesas. The rest of the land was rocky and uneven. The flat tops of the mesas provided a great place to grow food crops.
· There was a lot of clay and grass. The Anasazi learned to make adobe bricks out of dried clay and grass. They used the bricks to build adobe apartment homes.

6. Display the overhead transparency of the Timeline (in associated file).

7. Explain to students that not only did these three special Native American groups live in different regions, but they also lived in different times.

8. Discuss the Timeline with students making associations between these three groups and the regions they have studied previously in the unit. For instance:
· Make sure students understand that the Anasazi were some of the first Indians to live in the Southwest. They were called the “Ancient Ones”. They were the ancestors of later tribes like the Pueblo, Hopi, and Zuni.
· The students may not be familiar with the Plains Indians, however, point out that they appeared after the Anasazi and before the Seminoles.
· Finally, point out that the Seminoles began in the 1700s and were a tribe from the Southeast Woodlands region.
· Note the Seminoles appeared closer in time to where we are today and that there are a large number of Seminoles living in our state at present.

9. Tell students that today the class will focus mainly on learning about the Anasazi, or “Ancient Ones”.

10. Read and discuss [A New True Book: The Anasazi], by David Petersen.

Note: This book is on a higher level than second grade, so the teacher will need to improvise whenever necessary to get the subject matter across. However, the pictures are very good and will promote understanding.

Possible discussion questions might be:
· Why were the Anasazi called the “Ancient Ones”?
· In what region of the U. S. did they live?
· How did they get their food?
· What foods did they eat?
· How did they build their homes?
· What did they use to build their homes?
· What did the physical surroundings look like?
· How was the climate?
· What crafts did they make?

11. Tell students the center activities for today will be about the Anasazi.

12. Divide the students into four groups. Each group will rotate to all four centers. The teacher will devise a signal for when it is time for the groups to rotate. Note: This is just a suggestion. The teacher may devise a plan that is more effective with her group.

13. Use the directions below to explain the activities at each center. Tell students the instructions for each activity also will be posted at each center in case they forget what to do (in associated file). Point out the location of the instructions at each center.

14. Encourage students to read the steps in the instructions in order to complete the activities successfully (informational texts). Explain that as they work at the centers, you will use the Center Checklist to assess how well they read and follow the instructions.

15. Share the criteria on the Center Checklist with students.

16. Allow approximately 15 minutes for students to work at each center.

17. As students work at the centers, the teacher assesses center work performance based on the criteria listed on the Center Checklist.

18. The teacher provides formative feedback to students during the center activities. Formative feedback should be both guiding (I’m sorry. I think you left out a step. Look at the directions again. What step did you leave out?) and positive (Wow, you followed all the steps. Your group made a great adobe!).

19. Additional instruction or guidance should be given to any student who has difficulty reading the informational texts and completing the center activities.

Note: Completed student artwork from center activities need to be kept at school each day and displayed in the classroom. Artwork to be kept in the classroom includes the pottery made on Day 10, shakers and weaving done on Day 11, and Wood Paintings done on Day 12. Students will need this artwork to complete the My Favorite Artwork form and the Artfully Speaking lesson plan.

Center #1 – Building an Adobe
The Anasazi learned to make bricks from clay and dried grasses. They used these bricks to build adobe apartment buildings. Sometimes these buildings were five stories high. There were also many high stone cliffs in this region. A cliff is a high, steep side of a rock. These cliffs were found in nature. The Anasazi made homes in the sides of these stone cliffs. The cliff homes were not easily seen and provided protection from enemies.

· Review with the students about how adobe was made of bricks of dried grasses and clay. Explain that each group will create an adobe apartment building and they will be displayed in a special area of the classroom when everyone is finished.
· Each group is to choose a piece of rectangular packing Styrofoam (the large pieces that surround a computer monitor or other large appliance in packing boxes or you might purchase a cheap styrofoam ice chest) and use watercolor markers to draw brick-like shapes and openings on it to look like an adobe apartment building. Model for the students how they can draw on the Styrofoam to make it look like an adobe apartment building.
· Remind students that the Anasazi used ladders to climb into the buildings. Students may fashion ladders out of provided tree stems and branches by breaking short pieces for the rungs on the ladders and gluing them onto two longer pieces of branches that are about the same length. The teacher models this for the students.
· Tell students that if they have time they can also use the provided materials to create animals and plants that lived in the Southwest region and add them to their display. Make sure to have some pictures of desert scenes at the center to give the students ideas of plants and animals that live in this region. You could also remind students that they could refer to the class matrix for information.

Center #2 – Pottery
Because the climate was dry, there was a lot of clay in the Southwest region. (The teacher might want to bring in a sample of clay to show to students who might not be familiar with it.) The Anasazi learned they could make beautiful pottery from this clay. Tell students that at this center they will get to make some pottery. Here is what they need to do:

(The teacher models the procedure as she verbalizes the steps.)
· Pinch off pieces of your clay.
· Roll the pieces of clay into long ropes.
· Coil one of your ropes to make a flat, round bottom for your pot.
· Place another rope on outside edge of the bottom of your pot and wrap it around.
Add more ropes of clay until your pot is as high as you want it.
Use a Popsicle stick to smooth the sides and insides.
· Write your name on a piece of waxed paper.
· Place your finished pottery on the piece of waxed paper.

Center #3 – Corn (Corn Cycle and Growing Corn)
Tell students that corn was very important to the Anasazi. It was one of their main foods. It was difficult to grow crops on the rocky, uneven land. However, there were many mesas in this region. The Anasazi grew their crops on the tops of mesas. It was much easier to grow their crops on the flat tops of the mesas than on the rocky, uneven land. Explain that students will get a chance to grow some corn. Model how the corn seeds can be planted in a cup of soil. Ask them to think about how their corn will grow. Discuss the pictures on the worksheet. Tell students they should look at the pictures and place them in the right order according to how they think their corn plants will grow.

· Find the clear, plastic cup with your name on it.
· Fill it halfway to the top with soil.
· Plant 2 or 3 corn seeds near the sides of the cup. Make sure the seeds are covered with soil.
· Pour some water in the cup. (The purpose in providing the small watering container is to avoid over watering by the students. The container could be placed by the sink or in a small basin of water. Students take their cups with planted seeds to that location to water their seeds.)
· Put your cup near the sunlight.

Corn Cycle Worksheet
· Write your name on your Corn Cycle paper.
· Cut out the pictures at the bottom of the worksheet.
· Look at the pictures. Think about how your corn plants will grow.
· Glue the pictures at the top in the order you think your plants will grow. (You might want to have students number the pictures after they glue them by placing a 1, 2, 3, 4 under the correct picture to indicate the sequence.)

Center #4 – Map Booklets
Students use the class map as an informational text to complete Activity Sheet #3 in their Map Booklets. Remind students that the physical surroundings and climate of a region affected how the people in that region lived.
· Use the class map to help you.
· Write the name of the region on the space at the top.
· Look at your map symbols.
· Cut out the ones that tell about the Southwest region.
· Glue them in the three boxes in the middle of the page.
· Write one of the facts under “Fact”.
· Finish the “And so” part.

20. After center work is completed bring students back together as a whole group and allow time for them to share what they have learned about the Anasazi Indians. The teacher uses the discussion responses to formatively assess student understanding of the following concepts:
· The Anasazi lived long ago, before the Plains and Seminole Indians.
· Ways the Anasazi were similar and different to culture groups from other regions.
· Ways the physical characteristics and climate of the Southwest affected the lives of the Anasazi.
· The Anasazi made beautiful pottery out of the clay that was in their environment.
· The Anasazi learned to build homes made of bricks of clay and dried grasses called adobes.
· They also made homes in the sides of cliffs, which were so prevalent in their physical surroundings.

21. The teacher provides specific feedback throughout the discussion. Feedback should be guiding (I’m sorry. You must have forgotten that the Southwest region was dry and hot.) and positive (That’s correct! You remembered that Indians from the Southwest built cliff dwellings and adobe homes.)

22. Begin Student Web Lesson [Different Tribes, Different Times].
The Student Web Lesson can be used from this day on in the unit. It is suggested students work in pairs to complete the Web Lesson. This allows for peer tutoring and assistance. If the number of computers in the classroom is limited, a hard copy of the lesson can be printed and discussed as a class activity while one student at a time is selected to actually be on the computer performing as the class directs.


Use the class follow-up discussion as a means of formatively assessing student understanding of ways the physical surroundings and climate of each region affected the lives of the people, understanding of similarities and differences of Native American culture groups from different regions and times, and knowledge of some works of art that reflect the cultural heritage of each culture group community.

Use a Center Checklist (in associated file) to formatively assess student ability to read informational texts to complete center projects. The teacher will use the Center Checklist to note students who follow all directions, follow most directions, and follow few directions at each center.


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. The teacher could substitute other appropriate center activities as long as they go along with the standards being addressed. You may want to create a technique to use in your class to help remember who is in what group and which center they go to next.
3. In step 11 of Procedures, the teacher could show the video entitled [Native Americans: People of the Desert] by Rainbow Educational Media. This is a very informative video and on an appropriate level. However, it is recommended that the teacher preview the video. There is a scene in which a rabbit is shot with an arrow for food. The scene is not graphic, but teacher discretion should be used as to whether that segment should be shown. Also, some of the Indians in the video are dressed authentically with no shirts and breechcloths. The teacher might want to discuss this before showing the video.
4. To reinforce factual concepts about the various Native American culture groups being studied, the teacher is encouraged to chart the Indian information given at the beginning of each center. The teacher will read the charts when introducing each center and then post them at the centers for students to reread before they begin the center activities.
5. Students begin working in pairs to complete the Student Web Lesson, [Different Tribes, Different Times].

Web Links

This site has links about the archaeology of the area, Mesa Verde National Park, and The Ancestral Puebloan People of Mesa Verde Country. An exciting site with several pages on Anasazi ruins that provide pictures and background information for the teacher.
Welcome to Mesa Verde Country

Museum site that exhibits American Indian Art in the Southwest.
The Heard Museum: Native Cultures and Art

This site provides links to nineteen individual Pueblo groups.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Provides information about desert peoples and cultures.
Desert USA

Web supplement for Different Tribes, Different Times
Mesa Verde National Park

This is an online Student Web Lesson that introduces various Native American culture groups.
Different Tribes, Different Times

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