Field Trip to Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Museum


Author: Marc Sheehan

Content Area: Social Studies

Grade: 3-5

Concepts Addressed: History, Culture, Geography

Site: Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Museum (Steilacoom, WA)

Materials: Transportation to museum, pencils, note sheets, butcher paper, K-W-L sheets, overhead projector

Time: 2.5 - 3 hours at museum, 50 minutes for preparation, 45 minutes for follow-up debriefing (done over three days)

Objectives: The students will demonstrate prior knowledge of the Coastal Native Americans (particularly the Puyallup and Nisqually Tribes). The students will hypothesize on what they expect to find at the museum. The students will compare those guesses to what they actually saw at Steilacoom. Finally, the students will identify five interesting artifacts or exhibits, write those things down, and report their findings to the rest of the class.

Introduction: I will open this lesson by informing the class that we will be taking a field trip to Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Museum. I will tell the students that this museum will focus on Coastal Native Americans. The students will be asked to tell me what they know about Coastal Natives like the Puyallups and the Nisquallies. (How did they live? What were some of their customs? Can you tell me about any famous Coastal Natives?) The answers will be recorded on the overhead.

Procedure: This lesson will follow the K-W-L procedure (What do we know? What do we want to know or learn? What did we learn?). The introduction is the "What do we know" portion of the lesson. I will pass out K-W-L sheets to the class (the sheets will already be divided up into the three categories) and have the students write down the ideas and facts that we came up with under the "K" heading. I will then ask them to tell me (and write down) what they want to learn from their field trip. They will also write down what they expect to see at the museum (the "W"). We will compare our guesses to what we actually saw during our follow-up debriefing (held the next school day). The answers will be recorded on both the student K-W-L sheets and on a large piece of butcher paper.

The students will be placed into groups of three. They will stay with this group (and a parent volunteer) during the field trip. The students will also be informed of the rules for field trips and of the consequences for breaking those rules. Then I will give the assignment: The student groups are to write down five interesting things they saw at the museum. These could include artifacts or whole exhibits. The students will report their findings to the class in our follow-up session on the next school day. The K-W-L sheets will be turned in to me afterwards.

Closure: I will hold a field trip debriefing session on the next school day. The class will share what they learned and write down what they and their classmates saw in the "L" portion of the note sheets. The students will also compare what they saw with what they thought they would see -- were they surprised by something being there? Were they disappointed by some omission?

Assessment: I will collect the K-W-L sheets and look to see if the students wrote at least five new things their group saw as well as the reports from the other groups. I will also check to see if the students wrote down a guess for what they thought they would see and whether that guess was correct (Did they see a canoe?, for example).