Native Americans Unit: Plateau + Great Basin


After the California Tribes, we went east a little and studied the Plateau and Great Basin Tribes.   We mostly focused in the Nez Perce and Shoshone tribes.


This book about the Plateau Indians (First Nations of North America), as with all the other regions we’ve studied, is the one we read from cover to cover and have enjoyed all the information they share there.  It has this map in the front of each book in the series, and it’s a clear map, and great reminder of what we are studying.


It also shows very visually how the US gained the territories.  I like it when it’s clear and so visual like this map.  I’m a visual learner.

We read about Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark, Chief Joseph and lots more.  But our first project was about the Nez Perce tribe and their known Apaloosas horses, so we made this decoration that was ready to use from the History Pockets books about Native Americans.

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With little math included. DSC_0015-small DSC_0058-small

We also studied and devoted quite a few hours to Chief Joseph and his life.

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After we were done with the Nez Perce Indians, I found this great resources online, the Nez Perce National Historic Trail by the Forest Service.  I emailed them to ask them for any information they had to share besides what I found online from their website and I communicated with one of their staff in few emails over a day or two.  Two days later, we got this large package full, full! of great coloring books, postcards, maps, and great maps!


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Now we are thinking maybe we want to go see parts of the trail when we head to Idaho this summer.  Wouldn’t it be fun?

Then we found this Nez Perce War Bonnet instructions, from another book that I can’t remember right now… (we returned all these books back to the library already.)


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I found this great resource online and used it myself to learn more about the tribes of this cultural region. With great photos too!

DSC_0004-smallWe made a Shoshone leather pouch (more on this on a later post) and studied about Sacagawea too.

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We are enjoying this book called Draw Write Now about Native Americans.

DSC_0067-smallAs with all the tribes and cultural regions we’ve been studying, we are keeping track of words and things we want to remember later, in a small book like dictionary, also from that History Pockets book, but we are adding a lot more information than what it was meant to be.  But it’s been a great activity for us.

DSC_0064-smallWe are also making a chart with the same information for each tribe we study.  As a review at the end of the block, and fun to look back at.

DSC_0054-smallWe don’t have masks from this area, but Siena and Lucas have been wanting to do some coloring instead.

DSC_062-smallAnd because we love stories, we read as many native american stories as we can find.  About creation and told by the different tribes, about Coyote, about the Sky and the Earth.  All of them are fun to read about.

Other books we read for this block of study:


At the end of the book we like to read, as with all the other books from that series we’ve seen, comes a map of where the Tribes live today.  It’s a great topic of conversation for us.  Every time, we talk more about the history of the country, the reasons of why the Native Americans were forced to leave their land for smaller areas, and how it feels and must have felt to them one hundred, two hundred years ago, and what it means today.

I have my opinion. A completely outsider, and new to this topic, one.  Lucas and Siena are creating and developing their thoughts and their opinions about what we are studying, and about life in general.  I try to bring up this topic of conversation with other friends when we can, so we can all hear different points of view, different ideas.

These units about Native Americans, have brought so much learning and so much fun to all of us, in my family.  It’s exciting.



We’ve completed another region, The Plateau and Great Basin Native American Tribes.  And we’ve learned so much.  I love it when the kids say “Can we keep studying this?”


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