Social Studies and Science Update

By phillipss  

We have spent the last 3 weeks learning about Native American cultural groups.  We studied 5 groups:  Arctic, Pacific Northwest, Plains, Southwest, and Eastern Woodlands.  We primarily used History of Us to read about each group and supplemented with short video clips from the Discovery Education website. I love History of Us, and we will use it frequently for the remainder of our social studies topics throughout the year as we are learning about the formation of our country.  History of Us tells the story of the United States in a very engaging way.  The author includes funny anecdotes and unusual facts.  We are not going to do a project to culminate Native Americans because I’m anxious to move on to Early Explorers, however the students will have an open note assessment on Monday which requires them to think about the information and make comparisons between the groups to find similarities and differences – something we have been doing in class discussions frequently.  The primary concepts I hope students understand about Native Americans is that each group had to adapt to the environment they lived in to survive; I want them to be able to describe how they adapted.  Native Americans were very resourceful and used natural items for many purposes.  We have analyzed the natural resources available in each region and studied their kinds of technology, ways of governing themselves, customs and traditions, and economic activities.  I’ve also been stressing that Native Americans groups had much in common with each other, but also had unique differences.  The differences are largely based on how they adapted to the environment in which they lived.  Native Americans will feature broadly in our further study of American history with a focus on interaction between them and Europeans.

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