I was challenged by my son-in-law, a historian in his own right, to create a map of indigenous peoples without political borders. Land ownership, to the aboriginal people, was not a concept that was used. The land provided what they needed, and when it couldn't, they simply moved. It wasn't until the European explorers came that the concept of land ownership was adopted. Understanding history helps us to understand the emotion behind a culture.
I created a mercator style map of North America so that Greenland and Iceland were more accurately represented in terms of land mass. From there, I researched and found 12 cultural areas within North America. Each area is actually identified by its geographical area, and the indigenous people developed their cultures based on what the land could provide for them.
This peeked my curiosity and I started to research how each geographic area was used to meet the indigenous people's basic needs. When I taught Grade 6, we studied cultures. When studying a culture, one of the first things we would do is look at how a culture meets their needs of food, clothing and shelter. These needs are highly influenced by the environment. Other areas we looked at was how a society organizes themselves be it family or government. Finally, we looked at how a culture expresses themselves. This is language, art, and religion.
Based on the target grade level (Grade 3 for Canada and Grade 5 for the US), I chose to centre my writing on how the tribes of each region met their basic needs. I touched on how they organized themselves as I could without going into too much detail. Again, focusing on what students with limited life experience could understand - families and villages.
The unit is 34 pages large. The maps and charts are in both letter and tabloid size to accommodate younger students or students who struggle with dexterity. The text is written in short sentences to accommodate younger readers and each page has an illustration that will be of interest to young students. I've included lots of suggestions on how this unit can be used, what kind of extended learning can be supported, and what inquiry based projects can be assigned given the new BC curriculum standards. Below are some thumbnail images of what is included in the unit.
If you end up using it, please let me know how you used it and fire me some suggestions to make it better. Thanks so much for your support. Click here to go to the unit on my TeachersPayTeachers store.