Native American History


Native American History introduces students to major historical figures and influential events in the history of the American Indian peoples. Students will learn about many different tribes, including the Sioux, the Shoshone, the Apache, and the Shawnee tribes. Throughout the lesson, they will discover many cool facts and some very sad ones surrounding American Indian history.

There are several suggestions listed in the “Options for Lesson” section that you can use as alternatives or additions to your lesson. For example, you can assign students a famous Native American or event to further research and later present to the class. You can also invite a Native American or expert in that culture to speak with your students. It may also be a great opportunity to study words and place names that have Native American roots, such as many of the state names.

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What our Native American History lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Native American History discusses some key figures and important events related to the indigenous people who used to, and still do, live in what is now the United States. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to recap these events and figures and explain their influence on America. This lesson is for students in the 5th grade and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, the only supplies you will need are the content pages and handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. For this lesson, some of these options include letting students work alone or in the groups for the acrostic poem activity, having students do their own research on a famous Native American or event that they then present to the class, or having students create a timeline that includes pictures or illustrations related to the events included on the timeline. You can also plan a Native American Day, where you bring in traditional Native American foods. A Native American person or historian can also be invited to speak to your class. Additional options for this lesson can be found on the Classroom Procedure page.

Teacher Notes

The Teacher Notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. It notes that while many students are likely familiar with Native Americans, they likely do not know many specific people or important events. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Native Americans

This lesson includes four content pages. The first page of the lesson provides an overview of the Native American people, who are the indigenous people of the land now known as the United States. Students will learn that there used to be hundreds of tribes living here, most of whom lived in peace with one another. Native American history goes back at least 14,000 years but everything changed when Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492, setting off a long chain of events and the displacement of these people from their land. Students will learn about the timeline of European settlers coming to the Americas and what impact that had on the indigenous populations.

Native American People and Events

This section of the lesson contains a list of famous and significant Native American people and a timeline of important event in the history of the Native Americans. Some of the famous Native Americans that this lesson describes are Pocahontas, Squanto, Sacajawea, and Sitting Bull. Students will learn that the story they likely know about Pocahontas is actually part myth! Pocahontas helped the English colonists settle and eventually married an English tobacco planter named John Rolfe, with whom she had one child.

Students will also learn that Squanto was key in establishing a treaty between the local Native Americans and the Pilgrims. He had learned English as a teenager, traveled to England with the settlers, and was later sold as a slave. He was instrumental in helping the English survive in America, teaching them how to catch fish, grow crops, and survive the winter. Other important figures who are mentioned in this section are Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and Jim Thorpe.

The next part of this lesson contains a timeline of events. Some of the events on this timeline include 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon originally explored what is now Florida and made contact with the Native Americans there; 1754, when the French & Indian War began; 1824, when the United Stated established the Office of Indian Affairs; 1838, when the Trail of Tears happened and more than 4,000 Cherokee people died while being forced to march from North Carolina to Oklahoma; and 1969, when all Native Americans were declared citizens of the United States. Students will learn a lot about the history of the Native American people as a whole during this section.


The Native American History lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For the activity, students will work with a partner to complete the worksheet. They will create an acrostic using the letters in “Native Americans.” They will write a total of 15 facts about the American Indians or their history. Each fact must start with the proper letter. Students are encouraged to be creative and use what they learned from the lesson to complete this activity. You can also have students work alone or in groups for this activity.


The practice worksheet lists 20 facts and a word bank containing the names of people, significant events, and more. Some of these terms included “Battle of Little Bighorn” and “Ponce de Leon”. Students will match the terms in the word bank to the correct statement.


The homework worksheet lists a total of 16 statements and questions. Students must answer each question to complete the assignment. This homework assignment will test their knowledge of the lesson material.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. No answer key is provided for the activity worksheet because each pair of students’ acrostic poem will be different depending on the words that they chose. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Brazil Brazil

Excellent ideas

It helped a lot preparing classes.

United States United States

Easy and engaging

Really great lesson plan. Used for my 4th graders and it was great!

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Native American History

Great material. Very useful.