Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
A More Perfect Union
Lesson at a Glance
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Chapter 14, Lesson 2: Culture of the Plains Indians (pp. 415-419)
The Big Idea
Framework Concept: Culture The introduction of guns and horses
greatly altered the Plains Indians' way of life.
- Create a cause-and-effect chart showing how guns and horses
changed the Plains Indians' lives and increased competition among
tribes. Then discuss the importance of the buffalo, including the
many different ways Plains Indians used the animals.
- Review the various ways a male could achieve status in a
Plains Indian tribe, then discuss how the tribes governed
themselves with elders and chiefs. Be sure students understand
that different chiefs could lead the tribe in different activities.
Describe the Indians' attitudes toward land ownership and the
importance of ceremonies.
Use the Lesson Outline to preview the content of the lesson.
You may wish to print it for your students as a guide during reading.
Check for Understanding
- Organize students into pairs. Have one student role-play a
newspaper reporter and the other an elder of a Plains Indian tribe,
living around the time Europeans made contact. Ask the reporter to
interview the elder about changes he or she has seen since the Europeans
arrived. Encourage both sides to ask and answer questions clearly and thoroughly.
- Organize students into working groups. Using the information in
A Closer Look on pages 416-417, have each group design a scene from
Plains Indian life to be painted on a buffalo hide. Encourage groups
to choose different time periods to show: for example, they could
create a scene showing life before guns and horses; or while guns
and horses were still new, or after a tribe had adopted a nomadic way of life.
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