Native Americans: Informational Writing & Integrated Research Project
This unit integrates studying about Native Americans and geography, research, and informational writing. Students select a Native America tribe in North America and research how the physical geography of their location affected their culture. The use their research to create a brochure on the culture their selected tribe.
This resource includes mini-lessons that teachers can use or skip, depending upon the needs of their class.
This is a complete unit that includes everything but the research sources!
The unit begins with a one page text about Human-Environment Interaction (one of the 5 Themes of Geography). Teachers then read 1 – 2 mentor texts to explore real world examples of how people depend on and affect their environments.
After reading these texts, teachers introduce students to the research project. Students will select a Native American tribe from North America and research the geography of its location and its culture (clothing, shelter, food, and major beliefs), as well as which tribes also lived in the same area. A list of tribes that have easily accessible online resources is included as a student sign-up sheet.
If students are required to write a bibliography, teachers then give a mini-lesson on How to Write a Bibliography.
Before beginning their research, teachers give a mini-lesson on Note-Taking.
Students then research their tribes. Teachers can adapt their expectations to their grade level. For example, lower grades could expect students to find less information, while older grades could raise the research and grammar expectations.
After students are finished researching, teachers can give a mini-lesson on Outlining. This is optional, but recommended.
Once students write their outlines, they use them to write drafts of their brochures. Teachers should give them time to revise and edit.
To create the brochures, teachers can either use the included brochure template, plain paper, or a program like PowerPoint. This would cover some of the technology standards in 4th – 8th grades.
Teachers can extend this unit by having students present their research. This can be done by having students present to the class or holding an open house for friends and family. (I also invited other classes to come and ask questions about the projects.) This would cover some of the Speaking & Listening standards.
Everything needed to publish a final story is included – just print and go! This resource includes:
– Suggested Lesson Plan, including suggested mentor texts
– Suggested Standards Covered
– One Page Informational Text on Human-Environment Interaction
– Anchor Chart (printable pieces) for Human-Environment Interaction
– Student Anchor Chart Page for Human-Environment Interaction
– Brochure Project Instructions Page
– Brochure Template
– Mini-Lesson: How to Write a Bibliography
– Mini-Lesson: How to Take Notes When Researching
– Student Sign-Up Page with list of Native American Tribes
– Anchor Chart (printable pieces) for Outlining
– Student Anchor Chart Page for Outlining
– Student Final Project Checklist
– Informative Rubric
– Social Studies Rubric
The length this lesson takes will depend upon how long students take to complete the research, write their drafts, and create the brochure. Teachers should adapt this project as needed to fit their grade level and student ability-levels.