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hepeoplE Lesson Plans
The "New" World: What You Should Know Before You Go
(A Guide to Native America)
Prepared by Lisa Morgan
Intended Grades: 3rd and 4th
Subject Area: Social Studies
Correlation to National or Washington State Standards:
Standard 1.2: Understand events, trends, individuals, and movements shaping United States, world,
and Washington State history
Standard 1.3: Examine the influence of culture on United States, world, and Washington State history
Standard 2.1: Compare and contrast ideas in different places, time periods, and cultures, and
examine the interrelationships between ideas, change, and conflict.
Students will understand that Plimoth Plantation was not the first European colony in America.
Students will understand that several countries were competing to colonize and control the New
World after Columbus sailed to the West Indies in 1492. Students will be introduced to the school
computer lab and retrieve historical information from pre selected web sites, magazines and books.
Approximate Time Required: 3 to 4 hours
See below under Resources
The lesson will begin with a read aloud of a book about Columbus' "Discovery of America". A
class discussion will ensue with observations about the way indigenous people are shallowly
portrayed in the book. Students will then be asked to work in small groups to compare, contrast
and analyze other picture books about Columbus and the way the indigenous people are
portrayed as inferior and "uncivilized"
We will listen to the song "1492" by Nancy Schimmel (available from Teaching Tolerance,
I will tell the students that there is a need for early explorers and colonists from Spain, France and
England to learn more about the indigenous people living on the North American continent before
they go there to build a new life. We will discuss the positive effects this might have on the
experiences of all cultures involved and ways in which history might have been different had early
colonists informed themselves more about the indigenous cultures of the New World.
Students will work in groups of 2 to plan and illustrate a fact sheet (brochure) about an assigned
Native American group living on the East coast of North America. As a class, we will discuss and
decide what the brochures should include. Students will use pre-selected internet sites and
magazines and books to complete their assignment. Eight students will each be assigned to one
of three Native American Tribes: The Timucua in Florida, the Waponahki in Quebec and the
Powhatan in Virginia.
Students will present their brochures to the class. They will be displayed on a bulletin board, and
later bound into a book.
Students will be taught about the history of the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine in 1565,
English settlements of Roanoke and Jamestown and the successful French settlement of Quebec
City in 1608 after earlier attempts in Florida and Maine.
The student will be evaluated for:
Oral presentation of brochure in front of classmates.
Accurately written facts, thoughtful pictures and interesting details that teach us about the strengths,
personalities, homes, diets, skills and other interesting qualities of the selected indigenous tribes of
North America as they lived before European colonization altered their way of life.
Jamestown internet site for kids http://ab.mec.edu/iamestown/powhatan.html
Timucua internet site for kids http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/websites/links001.htm#tim
Cobblestone Magazine (November 1994, "Indians of the Northeast Coast").
Various books about the Timucua Tribe of Florida, the Powhatan Tribe of Virginia and the Wapanohki
tribe of Maine and Quebec. Three or four children's picture books about Columbus (pre-1995
publishing dates tend to portray examples of stereotyping and racism). Various books, primary
document pictures, maps and writings from 16th and early 17th century European exploration and
The web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach
The lyrics to "1492"
Words & music by Nancy Schimmel
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
It was a courageous thing to do,
but someone was already here.
The Inuit and Cherokee,
the Aztec and Menominee,
Onondaga and the Cree.
Columbus sailed across the sea,
but someone was already here.
Columbus knew the world was round
So he looked for the East while westward bound
But he didn't find what he thought he found
For someone was already here.
It isn't like 'twas empty space
The Caribs met him face to face
Could anyone discover the place
When someone was already here?
So tell me who discovered what
Thought he was in a different spot
Columbus was lost, the Caribs were not
They were already here.