As previously stated, the goal of this unit will be to have students examine the Native peoples of America in order to gain a better understanding of who they were and how far they have come as a people. I plan on having the curriculum unit meet various objectives in order for students to get a better understanding of how Native American people have made great strides over time, and fill in those integral gaps left by textbooks.
The starting point of my curriculum unit and first objective will be to have students look at America and its native inhabitants prior to European colonization (Pre-Columbian). The focus of the unit will be to have students learn about the various areas of America that were inhabited by Native Americans and learn about the cultures developed within each region. Another area of focus for this unit will be to have students examine how these inhabited Native lands and cultures have changed over time. Once the students have gained a solid foundation of Pre-Columbian natives, the unit will then shift to having the students in my class examine the histories of major tribes within each region. The purpose of this objective will allow students to gain a better understanding of various tribe’s languages, traditions, societies, etc. Rather than looking at each region as a whole, I will pinpoint key tribes in each geographical region in more depth. Students will be given the opportunity to examine major tribes in each of these geographical regions (i.e. Eastern Woodlands-Iroquois Nation).
Another key objective that I feel needs to be met within this unit in order for students to understand how far Native peoples have come and fill in what has been left out of textbooks, will be to have students understand the goals of some of the major European countries who were exploring the continent in search of new colonies and other financial motives to enrich their kingdoms. This aspect of the curriculum will be a vital one for students, since it will provide them with a significant look at the first interactions between explorers and native peoples, and set the stage for future interactions between settlers and native peoples throughout history. The final objective will allow the unit to come full circle and hopefully fill in those gaps left by many textbooks and curriculums. The purpose of this objective will permit students to study various present day tribes in America and gain a better understanding of how past historical events may have impacted their tribes, and what they have done overtime to overcome any adversities they may have faced as a people.
I plan on using various strategies and methods to meet the needs of the students in my class. With that said, this curriculum unit will vary to reflect the learning styles of all students. Included will be:
Experiential Learning: The overall goal of this unit will be to have students learn how to be critical thinkers. I want the students to be able to learn about the topics addressed within the unit and be able to think critically about what they have just learned. My ambition is to have students ask thought provoking questions on the tribes they have learned about and walk away with the understanding that these tribes had their own cultures and were not just “conquered” by European explorers.
Differentiated Learning: The students within my class have a wide array of knowledge skills when it comes to learning. I plan on using various techniques to address the needs of all students within my class. Some of the ways I will address the needs of the students will be to give modified readings to certain students, have students pair up with other students for help, or have them work in small groups that are facilitated by myself. The goal will be to provide a learning environment not focused on academic pressure, but one that will foster learning and appreciation for Native Cultures.
Cooperative Learning: The students within my class will be allotted time throughout the unit to work with each other in small groups in order to complete various assignments or activities. The purpose of these assignments will be to allow students to work with one another and rely on each other in order to complete the learning activity assigned to them. The end assignment for the unit will require students to work as a group in order to make an informational catalog that highlights the achievements of one of the tribes learned about in the unit.