Native American Tribe Projects
Before Spring Vacation, fourth grade students wrapped up their study of Native Americans by researching a particular tribe, presenting their findings to the class, and sharing a handmade artifact inspired by what they had learned.
Fourth grade social studies teacher Ward Russell broke students into small groups, and, like the Native American tribes they were researching, each member had a defined role. Ward shared resources with each group about their tribe, and they gleaned information about five specific themes: location, natural resources, culture, lifestyle, and the tribe’s interaction with European settlers. Each student took responsibility for researching and presenting one of the themes for their tribe. Throughout social studies, fourth graders work on their note-taking skills, learn to discern the most critical data from non-fiction text, and present their information clearly and concisely. Students created their presentations with graphics, text, and even music. Each student created a storyboard and script for their part of the presentation, compiled their information, and recorded a voice-over for their section. Once they were put together, Ward played each video presentation for the class. Each presentation described the traditional lifestyle and culture of the tribe as well as a historical reflection on how the arrival of European settlers impacted each tribe.
After each tribe’s presentation, students shared the artifacts they had made with the class and explained their significance to the tribe. One student, inspired by the Navajo tribe’s colorful textiles, created a detailed replica of an upright loom. Another student crafted a bowl filled with frogs and grasshoppers, staples of the Aztec diet, while a student in the Iroquois tribe used laces, netting, and sticks to create a full-size replica of a lacrosse stick!