Theme Unit Plan: "My Important Place"



Author: Marc Sheehan

Title: My Important Place

Content Areas: Social Studies, Writing

Grade: 3-5

Concepts Addressed: History, Geography, Writing, Culture

Objectives: The students will be able to describe what geographic areas were important to the Nez Perce nation and why those areas were important. The students will also describe how these geographic areas figured in the Nez Perce War. The students will be able to answer questions about the Nez Perce creation story. Finally, the students will state what places are important to them and how they would feel if those places were taken away from them -- how would they react?

Materials: Two books: The Nez Perce , The Indian Book , paper, pencils, overhead picture of Kamiah Hill, Idaho

Time: 45 minutes

Introduction: This lesson will begin when I show the students a picture of Kamiah Hill, Idaho. "What does this look like? Any guesses?" The students will give me some of their ideas, and then I will tell them what it really is: the hill is the site where the Nez Perce believe they were created by Coyote, the Trickster. I will read them the story How Coyote Made People, which is a version of the Nez Perce creation story. (Coyote defeated the fearsome Kamiah Monster, then he cut the monster up and made all of the different tribes from the body parts. The Nez Perce were created from the drops of blood that spilled out of the monsteršs heart. The heart was then turned to stone, now known as Kamiah Hill. The Nez Perce say that Kamiah Hill is the heart of the monster from which they were created, in other words.)

Procedure: After the importance of Kamiah Hill is explained, I will tell the students about another important place: Wallowa Valley, Oregon, the homeland of Chief Joseph. He loved the valley deeply, and when it was drawn out of the Nez Perce reservation, Joseph was moved to fight for it and all the other Nez Perce land. The Nez Perce did not want to give up the land that their forefathers were buried in. They fought to keep it, which led to the beginning of the Nez Perce War.

Closure: I will then have the students write about this question: what place (s) is (are) important to you? They will also write on these questions: Why is it important? What can you tell the class about that place? How would you feel if you had to give up that those places? What did the Nez Perce do when they lost those areas? The students will write their answers down, and I will collect them.

Assessment: I will check the student responses for these things: Did the students write down two places that were important to the Nez Perce? Did they say why those places were important? Did they list what happened what happened when the Nez Perce lost those places? I will also look over the student essays: Did they write about an important place? Did they describe it? Did they give their thoughts about it? Was their grammar (sentence structure, punctuation, etc.) and spelling correct?