TeachersFirst's Native Americans Resources

This editor's choice collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the rich heritage and legacy of Native Americans and to plan projects and classroom activities so students can explore the contributions and experiences of the native nations of North and South America.  Whether you spend one class exploring these resources or plan an entire unit on Native Americans, the ideas included in the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and projects your students will not forget.

Click here to see our complete listing of resources tagged Native Americans.

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American Indian Response to Environmental Changes - National Museum of the American Indian

Grades
4 to 12
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. First click the link in the first paragraph or the picture on...more
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. First click the link in the first paragraph or the picture on the right to find this unit. Through videos and primary sources, you can explore these four Native American cultures. Each tribe's section is broken down into the following areas: Getting Started, Meet the People, About Our Homeland, Our Environmental Challenge, Our Strategies, and Our Future.

tag(s): environment (238), native americans (91), natural resources (38)

In the Classroom

Project this site on an interactive whiteboard and watch the videos on each of the tribes. If you have laptops available, have students navigate on their own. Have the class take the included interactive quizzes to see what they've learned. Group students and have each group read about a different tribe. Then using the online story project planner, have students create a presentation about their tribe that can be uploaded to the site. Be sure to visit the teacher area for lesson plans, links and other resources.
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Daria -World Music for Children - World Music by Daria

Grades
K to 5
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World Music for Children, though a commercial site, shares some simple treasures of music: song lyrics, audio files, and music-related craft projects to engage children with music at...more
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World Music for Children, though a commercial site, shares some simple treasures of music: song lyrics, audio files, and music-related craft projects to engage children with music at school or at home. Steer clear of the items for sale, and you will find songs to play for Martin Luther King Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage month, Cinco de Mayo and more. This review directs you to the Teacher section where you can also find directions and photos to make simple percussion instruments from all over the world. The site is simple, but the options for making music are many. PDF files of song lyrics are available.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): hispanic (28), martin luther king (42), musical instruments (47), native americans (91), songs (44), sound (73)

In the Classroom

Turn up your speakers and try the limbo. Make simple instruments as part of your cultural heritage celebrations. Enhance learning by recording your class (or with older children - small groups) singing one of the simple songs using a simple tool such as Acast, reviewed here, or your computer's own recording software; then share the link to the recording on your class web page for younger students to sing along at home. During units on sound in elementary science class, make some of the instruments to explore how sound is created and transmitted. PE teachers can teach lessons using the song/dance options, such as the limbo. World language classes and world cultures classes may even find some of the ethnic instruments from other parts of the world interesting, despite the more juvenile appearance of this site.
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Kennedy Center Digital Resources - Formerly ArtsEdge - Kennedy Center

Grades
K to 12
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center, offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by ...more
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center, offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by subject, keyword, or grade level (K-4, 5-8, or 9-12). Some examples of topics include Native Americans, Civil War, Shakespeare, myths, melodrama, adjectives, monsters, baseball, and countless others! Be sure to check out the category "Our Best Resources Organized by Subject." After that click on the the top menu for Education and get even more resources. There are many interactive lessons: some with video, audio, or slideshows. The lessons provide an estimate of time required and complete, step-by-step instructions. There are printables included with some of the lessons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (110), baseball (33), civil war (135), comics and cartoons (54), dance (26), folktales (34), greece (27), habitats (86), immigration (63), literature (218), mexico (29), musical instruments (47), myths and legends (21), native americans (91), painting (55), surrealism (2)

In the Classroom

Search this site for a topic that you are teaching in your class. Share the lesson on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Better yet, make the video or slideshow a learning station for students to watch in small groups. This site is so wonderful and HUGE, that after students are one with the resources you have for them, you may want to allow them to explore on independently or in small groups for a specific interest of theirs.
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A Listening Doll - Joyce Payne

Grades
K to 4
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Students discuss the process of storytelling and listening to stories. Then, they create a listening doll from clay in the tradition of the Native American storyteller dolls. The lesson...more
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Students discuss the process of storytelling and listening to stories. Then, they create a listening doll from clay in the tradition of the Native American storyteller dolls. The lesson is in 2 45-minute segments. The students will learn about Native American storyteller dolls, create their own image of a person listening to a story, discuss and assess the various listening dolls created by the class.

tag(s): crafts (54), native americans (91), stories and storytelling (44)

In the Classroom

Some arts & crafts materials are needed for these lessons. This would be a great option to accompany the study of Native Americans in an elementary classroom, drawing in your language arts time for story writing and telling.

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American Indian FAQ's for Kids

Grades
4 to 7
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to 20+ questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans. ...more
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to 20+ questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans.

tag(s): cultures (131), native americans (91)

In the Classroom

There is so much information on this site that you may want to design a simple scavenger hunt around the site on a weekly basis to cover all or most of the questions Or, use this site as a reference for student research. This is a very easy-to-navigate Q & A format.

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National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian

Grades
8 to 12
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This national museum dedicated to the Native people of the Americas provides beautiful collections of online multimedia exhibitions on a variety of cultural and historical subjects....more
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This national museum dedicated to the Native people of the Americas provides beautiful collections of online multimedia exhibitions on a variety of cultural and historical subjects. The Education link offers downloadable classroom guides and gentle suggestions on how to avoid stereotyping when teaching your students about Native American culture. Although the site strongly emphasizes artistic contributions of Native Americans, several exhibits examine the tragic loss of native traditions at the hands of social reformers.

tag(s): native americans (91)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a picture walk in your classroom during a unit on Native American culture. Select 10-15 of the more descriptive and diverse images, hanging them around the classroom in different places. Have students rotate around the classroom, moving every 30-45 seconds jotting down what they see in each image. At the end of the walk, have a class discussion based on what students saw in the images and what the walk has portrayed about Native American culture in the time period being studied. This is a great way to introduce the unit in a non-lecture format.

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Images of Native Americans - UC Berkeley

Grades
6 to 12
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Of interest to teachers of social studies, American history, or art, this site from UC Berkeley samples over 400 years of artistic portrayals of Native Americans in a variety of ...more
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Of interest to teachers of social studies, American history, or art, this site from UC Berkeley samples over 400 years of artistic portrayals of Native Americans in a variety of settings. The site is notable both for the quality of the images but also for the contexts in which they are presented. Suitable for a wide age range, depending on the amount of guidance the classroom teacher provides.

tag(s): art history (87), native americans (91), painting (55)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of Native American Culture. Besure to see the interactive timeline. It could be used to discuss Native American culture both pre-colonialism and during Westward Expansion. Have students research the site in order to better understand the way Indians have been depicted in modern culture rather than the reality. To show what they have learned from this site, extend learning by challenging students to create an online graphic to share using Visme, reviewed here. Visme allows you to choose to create a video, infographic, charts, and others.

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Surrounded by Beauty - Minneapolis Institute of Art

Grades
4 to 12
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Native American art and culture is the subject of this elegant site from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Built around the cultures of the Northeast Woodlands, the Mississippi Valley,...more
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Native American art and culture is the subject of this elegant site from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Built around the cultures of the Northeast Woodlands, the Mississippi Valley, the Plains, the Southwest, and the Northwest Coast, the site offers images and text that can enhance any unit on Native Americans. There are also links to tribal web sites. Though some of the videos and links can't be reached, there is still a wealth of information on this site.

tag(s): art history (87), native americans (91)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Native American culture. Have students explore the site with the intentions of presenting summaries of specific cultures or artworks. Have students enhance their learning by creating a multimedia presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint Online, reviewed here. Microsoft PowerPoint Online allows students to narrate a picture. Challenge students to extend their learning by finding a photo of the art, the tribes or the regions (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Pikwizard, reviewed here.

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Circle of Stories - PBS

Grades
4 to 12
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Native American cultures offer wonderful examples of oral traditions and storytelling. This site from PBS provides examples of these, a look at some common story themes, and audio...more
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Native American cultures offer wonderful examples of oral traditions and storytelling. This site from PBS provides examples of these, a look at some common story themes, and audio files with a number of different stories. Try using this one in a study of Native Americans or as part of a unit on stories from different cultures. Although this site is slightly dated, and some of the audio files are not updated, the content of this site remains relevant and useful to many classes.

tag(s): oral history (14)

In the Classroom

Use the educators guide to find ways to incorporate this site into your classroom, either through lesson plans or classroom activities. This would be a very useful site for a US history or English teacher, studying Native American Culture and story-telling.

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