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Worth A Thousand Words

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Summary

Students will examine the significance of the American bison to the American Indians of the Great Plains. Students will exhibit understanding of Lewis and Clark’s journey and their discovery of the importance of the American bison to the American Indians. Students will create a story in pictographs in the style of American Indians of the Plains.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will examine the significance of the American bison to the American Indians of the Great Plains.
  • Students will exhibit understanding of Lewis and Clark’s journey and their discovery of the importance of the American bison to the American Indians.
  • Students will create a story in pictographs in the style of American Indians of the Plains.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • American Indians
  • Writing to represent meaning
  • Retelling

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Explorer
  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Bison
  • American Indians
  • Pictograph

Materials

  • Images of bison
  • “Louisiana Territory Map” from the Resource Guide
  • “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page from the Resource Guide
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, such as:
    • Lewis and Clark: Discover the Life Of An Explorer by Trish Kline
    • Lewis and Clark: Explorers of the American West by Steven Kroll
    • A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler
    • Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
  • Chart paper/markers
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text telling a traditional story from the American Indians of the Plains that includes the bison, such as:
    • Buffalo Dreams by Kim Doner
    • The Buffalo Jump by Peter Geiger Roop
    • Buffalo Woman by Paul Goble
    • Legend of the White Buffalo Woman by Paul Goble
    • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie de Paola
    • Mud Pony by Caron Lee Cohen
  • “American Indian Pictographs” worksheet
  • “Stories in Pictures” worksheet
  • A model of the completed project
  • Large brown construction paper, cut into half-circles (1 per student)
  • Tape
  • Wooden skewers (3 per student)
  • Sandpaper

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Stories in Pictures” sheet (1 per student)
    • “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page from the Resource Guide (1 per student)
    • “American Indian Pictograph” sheet (1 for teacher resource)
  • Make an overhead transparency of the following:
    • “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page from the Resource Guide
    • “Louisiana Territory Map” from the Resource Guide
  • Gather images of bison.
  • Locate an appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Locate an appropriate text that tells a traditional story from the American Indians of the Great Plains that includes the bison (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Cut brown construction paper into half-circles (1 per student).
  • Cut the sharp points off the wooden skewers and round them off with sandpaper.
  • After Session 3, assemble the student teepees using tape.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/164.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display various pictures of bison. Ask the students to name the animal, or provide the correct name yourself. Ask the students to describe the animal and relate any background knowledge they have about the bison. Explain to the students that the American bison is not really a buffalo—no species of buffalo is native to North America. But people have used the term “buffalo” to describe the American bison since before Lewis and Clark’s time, so the terms are virtually interchangeable in common usage.
  2. Explain to the students that, early in our country’s history, President Thomas Jefferson sent two men on an expedition to explore our land. Explain that these men were named Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and that they were explorers. Briefly discuss other familiar explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, and the meaning of the term “explorer.”
  3. Display the overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory Map” and show the students the Louisiana Territory, which Lewis and Clark explored.
  4. Point out the states that were part of the United States before the Lousiana Purchase. Explain that our country bought this land and that Lewis and Clark were asked to find out what kinds of plants, animals, and people lived on this land.
  5. Introduce the students to the selected text about Lewis and Clark. As a group, preview the text. Ask the students to listen carefully for information about American Indians of the Great Plains and the bison. Read the story aloud to the class. Attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  6. After reading the text aloud, discuss with the students that Lewis and Clark learned that the bison was extremely important to the lives of the American Indians that the explorers met on the Plains.
  7. Display the overhead transparency of the “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page and introduce the students to the Westward Journey Nickel Series™. When Lewis and Clark were exploring this new territory, they came across different types of animals, including the one portrayed on the nickel reverse.
  8. Distribute copies of the “American Bison Nickel Reverse” page for the students to color.

Session 2

  1. Display images of the bison. Review the material covered during the first session.
  2. Tell the students that the bison was very important to the American Indians who lived on the Plains. Explain that the American Indians had great respect for the bison, and only hunted what they needed for survival. Ask the students to generate ideas about how the American Indians might have used all the parts of the bison. List these ideas on chart paper.
  3. Introduce the students to the selected text about American Indians and the bison. Tell the students that this is a traditional story passed down through generations of American Indians. Read aloud the selected text. Attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  4. After reading the text, explain to the students that the American Indians told these stories orally, but they also wrote some of them down in a special way.
  5. Draw an American Indian pictograph on the board, using the “American Indian Pictographs” sheet as a resource. (Optional: Display the pictographs on large paper or the overhead projector.)
  6. Ask the students to make some predictions about what the pictograph could mean. Explain to the students that the American Indians used symbols for writing. Tell the students that these symbols are called “pictographs,” and explain the meaning of the shared pictograph. Show 4 or 5 other examples and have the students predict the meanings. After predictions for each pictograph, write the correct meaning under its pictograph. Additional pictographs can be found on the Web sites cited in the “Materials” section.
  7. Distribute one “Stories in Pictures” worksheet to each student. Review the three sample pictographs at the top of the worksheet. Tell the students to read the three words in the middle section. Direct the students to create their own pictographs for these three words in the style of the American Indians.
  8. As a class, brainstorm some words that were very important to the story that was read. List these words on chart paper. Direct the students to choose three important words and write them at the bottom of the worksheet, then create their own pictographs for these three words. Collect the “Stories in Pictures” worksheets for use in Session 3.
  9. Ask the students to predict on what surface the American Indians may have written their stories using pictographs. After the students make their predictions, tell them that the American Indians wrote stories on dried, softened bison skins or even wrote the stories on the walls of teepees as decoration. If available, show the students pictures of teepees with pictograph decorations. Tell the students this was one way the bison was used completely.

Session 3

  1. Tell the students they will be retelling the story they heard about the American Indians of the Plains and the bison using their own pictographs. They can use some of the provided pictographs as well as create some more of their own.
  2. Display and discuss a completed model project before the students begin working.
  3. Distribute a copy of the “Stories in Pictures” worksheet to each student.
  4. Before writing, show the students how the teepees will be assembled so they will know where to write. Have the students retell the story in pictographs on brown construction paper half-circles, which represent the “bison skin.” Direct the students to write the stories using dark markers that will show up on the brown paper.
  5. After the students have written their stories, collect their teepees. Assemble the students’ teepees with tape before Session 4. Make sure to leave a small hole at the top.

Session 4

  1. Tell the students that the American Indians built the teepees using long sticks to make them stand up. Give each student three wooden skewers. Direct the students to tape these skewers inside the teepees so that the tops of the skewers cross and come out of the top hole in the teepee.
  2. Have students share their stories with a partner. The students should retell their stories using the pictographs they created.
  3. Display the teepees in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work with partners in order to complete their stories.
  • Provide individual or small-group support as needed during the creation of the pictograph stories.
  • Provide pictographs for students to cut out and glue onto the teepee.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Read aloud other theme-related books about Lewis and Clark, the Louisiana Purchase, and the American Indians. Add these books to the class library and encourage students to retell or act out what they have learned.
  • Have students create their own American Indian dictionaries of pictographs.
  • Have students write parts of their stories in words, as well as in pictographs.
  • Invite students to share their pictograph stories with other classes.
  • Have students use their teepees as the base for a diorama about American Indians.
  • Create a large class teepee using butcher paper and have all the students contribute to decorating it with painted pictographs.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the pictograph stories and their relationship to knowledge of American Indians and the bison.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.1 Language
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.1.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
    • Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
    • Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
    • Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
    • Use frequently occurring adjectives.
    • Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
    • Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
    • Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
    • Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
  • L.1.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize dates and names of people.
    • Use end punctuation for sentences.
    • Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
    • Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
    • Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.1.7. Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
  • RL.1.8. Not applicable to literature.
  • RL.1.9. Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.1 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.1.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.1.5. With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • W.1.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.1 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.1.1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
    • Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
  • SL.1.2. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • SL.1.3. Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.1.2. Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
  • RL.1.3. Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.