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AIH-8: American Indian Lifestyles

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Utah LessonPlans


This lesson should help students to understand how the history of the American Indian is affecting them today.



Background for Teachers

This is the last of four lessons in the Fifth Grade American Indian History Lesson Plan Unit:

Many of the Indian tribes have struggled with the loss of identity and the loss of language. When a culture begins to change so much that many of the traits of that culture are lost, then lifestyles and people are affected in dramatic ways. For the Indian people, their young are not learning many of their traditional ways. They have been integrated into the United States lifestyle. They, along with many other cultures that call this land home, are struggling with maintaining the essences of their culture. American Indians, like many other people that inhabit this land, are dealing with education issues, historical issues, and the modern day stresses of dysfunctional families and lifestyle choices that threaten them. Through this lesson, it is hoped that students will understand how the history of the American Indian is affecting them today. That history includes forced movement from their homelands, being forbidden the use of their native languages, and intolerable cruelty by the military and pioneers. It is also hoped that all students will develop a greater sense of their own heritage and a respect for the first peoples of this land. Students should come to an understanding that they can embrace their culture, enhance their education and knit them together so they can forge a future with hope and brightness.

Additional Resource

A Selective Timeline of American Indian Affairs (pdf)
Historical Events Timeline

Instructional Procedures

Instructional Procedures:
Essential Question 4: How were lifestyles affected by the westward expansion?

Teacher Resource:

Historical Events (Timeline)
Selective Timeline

Lesson Development:

  1. Timeline Research - In order to understand more deeply the effect of lifestyle, students will review and create a timeline of what has happened in the past. Use the following websites to develop a timeline about the history of the American Indians and then develop a timeline to represent the information.
  2. Prediction Chart – Students will fill out a prediction chart based on understandings from the timeline. Encourage students to make predictions about several areas of impact for the Indian peoples.
  3. My Thoughts - Unit assessment assignment. This is designed as a reflection page for students to show what they have learned throughout the units on Native American people.



Dreamcatcher - Have students develop an understanding of the significance of a dreamcatcher. Encourage them to make their own.


Project Sponsors:
Utah State Office of Education
Social Studies Enhancement Committee

Lesson Plan Writers:

  • Venita Tavepont - Ute
  • Genie Kirch
  • Don Mose - Navajo
  • Loya Arrum - Ute
  • Judy Wedgeland
  • Candice Turpin
  • Eileen Quintana
  • Joyce Guenon
Under the Direction of the Indian Education Specialist, Shirlee Silversmith. Special thanks to Dolores Riley.

Created: 01/26/2005
Updated: 01/20/2018