The Huron Indians

Social Studies Unit Plan


Megan Paxton

Mary O’Toole

Amy Herold

Amy Lipinski

Megan Riesenberger

Mitch Nguyen

The Huron Indians

Social Studies Unit Plan


Road Map

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:


Day Five:

Day Six:

Day Seven:

Day Eight:

Day Nine:


Day Ten:

Day Eleven:

Day Twelve:

Day Thirteen:

Day Fourteen:

Day Fifteen:











Detroit Native Americans

Unit Plan

Field Trip

Destination: Great Lakes Indian Museum

Address: W. Jefferson Detroit, MI. 48209

Contact Person: Stacy Klenner

Phone: 313 – 297 – 9360

Hours/Days: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily

Cost: Adult $5.00 Children $3.00

Food: Bring your own

Length of Tour: Approximately one hour



Rationale for the field trip: This field trip helps students learn more about Michigan Indians. Here at the museum students learn the story of Great Lakes Indians through various artifacts on display. Display items include burial mound data, carved peace pipes, colorful clothing and weapons.







Megan Paxton

Unit: The Huron Indians

Lesson Title: Introductory Lesson

Objective: Fourth grade students will understand the hardships endured by the Native Americans when their "rights as individuals" (Core Democratic Value) were withheld from them, so that when given a position as either a native or a settler, they will be able to role-play a similar situation and write a paragraph response to the event.

Rationale: This lesson address the Michigan content standard for social studies 1.4.3, which states that later elementary students will "identify problems from the past that divided their local community, the state of Michigan, and the United States and analyze the interests and values of those involved." By role-playing the position of either the Native Americans or the settlers who ignored the natives’ rights as individuals, the students will be able to consider the historical event and the problems it possessed from both sides.

Materials Needed:

Feathered headbands

Paper guns

Opener: As the students enter the classroom on the first day of the unit, hand out either a feathered headband or a paper gun to each student at random. Instruct those with headbands to go to the back of the classroom with their backpacks or other belongings and instruct those with paper guns to put their belongings away and to wait in the hall. In order to increase the students’ level of curiosity, give no further explanation and instruct them that they are not allowed to speak to one another.


  1. Tell the students in the hallway that when given the signal from the teacher, they are to enter the classroom playing the role of the English settlers, and that they are to take away the belongings of the other students, those who have been designated the Native Americans.
  2. Explain to the students in the classroom that they are playing the role of Native Americans, and tell them that they must follow all instructions given to them by either the teacher or their classmates.
  3. Signal the "English settlers" to enter and allow them to take the other students belongings and put them in the front of the classroom.
  4. Separate the students into groups of four, two settlers and two natives per group.
  5. Instruct the settlers that they must "teach" the natives how to do something, anything of the settlers choosing. Instruct the natives to do their best to comply and complete the given task.
  6. If the natives can complete the task, have the settlers give them back some belongings, but not their own.
  7. If the natives do not complete the task, have the settlers escort them to the back of the room to signify that they have been killed.
  8. Once each group has completed the task, bring the entire class back together and instruct each student to write a paragraph in response to the activity from the perspective of either the Native Americans or the English settlers. Explain that the paragraph should answer the questions "how did the settlers ignore the natives’ individual rights" and "what effect did these events have on the future of the United States."

Wrap-Up: After the activity is completed, facilitate a class discussion about what the students were thinking and feeling during the activity and connect their views to those of the Native Americans and the English settlers who actually took part in such events. Allow the students an opportunity to discuss how the Native Americans’ rights as individuals were violated and how the situation may have played out differently.

Evaluation: The students must write a paragraph in response to the activity from the perspective of either the natives or the settlers. This paragraph must illustrate their understanding of the event and how it affected the future of the United States.

Lesson Plan – Huron Indians

Language Arts/Social Studies

Amy Herold

Title: Create Your Own Legend!



Language Arts:

Meaning and Communication:

Content Standard 2.1: All students will demonstrate the ability to write clearly and grammatically correct sentences, paragraphs, and compositions.


Content Standard 5.2: All students will describe and discuss the shared human experiences depicted in literature and other texts from around the world.

Social Studies:

Historical Perspective:

Content Standard 2.3: All students will be able to recount the lives and characters of a variety of individuals form the past representing their local community, the state of Michigan, and other parts of the United States.

Geographic Perspective:

Content Standard 1.1,1.2,1.3: All students will describe, compare, and explain the differences in location, and characteristics in Indian cultures.


American Indians Myths and Legends by Richard Erdos and Alfonso Ortiz

Opener: To get the students interested in creating and writing new legends for the Huron Indians in Michigan, I will read several legends of the Huron Indians to the class.


  1. The teacher will read to the class several legends from American Indians Myths and Legends in the areas of human creation, world creation, and stories of animals and other people, that the Huron Indians have created.
  2. The teacher will have the students list several characteristics of legends.
  3. The teacher will tell the students they will create their own legends for the Huron Indians living in Detroit.
  4. The teacher will have the students pick one topic to create a legend about: human creation, world creation, or stories of animals and other people.
  5. The teacher will tell the students they must include three pieces of information they have learned about the Huron Indians in their legend. This can include where the story takes place - Detroit, the gender roles the Huron Indians have, the foods the Huron Indians eat, the way the Huron Indians live, or they way the Huron Indians hunt.
  6. The teacher will have the students create the story, and then create drawings for their story as well.
  7. The students will put the story together in a book form.
  8. The students will read their legends to the class.


The students will be assessed on the three types of information included in the legend about the Detroit Huron Indians. The legends must be on one of the three topics available, and include all the elements that make it a legend.


To expand this lesson, the students could create their legends in small groups, and than perform it in front of the class.

Amy Lipinski

Huron (Wendat) Lifestyles

Grade Level: Fourth

Subject: Art

Length: 3-4 Class periods.


Þ Students will become familiar with different aspects (clothing, housing, tools) of Huron Indian’s culture.

Þ Students will work creatively with their hands and make a visual representation of Huron culture.

Þ Students will practice cooperative group work.


SOC.II.1.LE.1 Locate and describe cultures and compare the similarities and differences among the roles of women, men, and families.

SOC.V.1.E.1 Locate information using people, books, audio/video recordings, photos, simple maps, graphs and tables.


Brown paper



Drawing paper



Paper Mache supplies (news paper, paste, balloons)




What do you think the people were like that lived in the Detroit area 300 years ago? You will be working on a project in conjunction with your regular teacher and the media specialist in order to explore the life style of the Huron (Wyandotte) Indians. You will be working in groups in order to create a representation of an aspect of the Huron Indians lives (clothing, housing, tools, villages, recreation). As a group you will decide how you want to create your representation (paper mache, construction, drawing).


  1. During regular class time students will be assigned into groups and each group will randomly be assigned a cultural area to explore and depict.
  2. Students will research the Huron Indians during library time and bring their resources to art class.
  3. Projects will be approved in advance.
  4. Art resources will be made available to the students, others supplies could be brought if necessary and paper mache technique will be explained as needed.
  5. During the first art period, projects and mediums will be decided upon by group consensus. Students will gather supplies and begin work.
  6. Teacher will be available to students throughout the project for guidance.
  7. Students will have three to four class periods to complete their projects.


Research sources can be made available in art room for special needs students or if the class does not know how to do research.

Examples can be shown for visual students.


In social studies students could do Venn diagrams comparing the Huron’s culture to that of their own.

In English students could write papers on what it would be like to be a part of the Huron tribe 300 years ago.




Þ Students will present their projects in front of the class and give background information of the aspect of the Huron culture they are representing (what it is, how it is used, why they did things this way).

Þ Students will complete group evaluation forms

Lesson Plan – Huron Indians

Social Studies

Mary O’Toole

Lesson Title: Germ Warfare


  1. Fourth grade students will discuss how the British and French used germ warfare against the American Indians, so that in a class debate the class will break up into two sides, the Europeans and the Indians, and support each side. Blooms Taxonomy Evaluation.
  2. Fourth grade students will use the Internet to look up information about how infected blankets were given to the American Indians, so that they will demonstrate how they found information to support their side of the debate. Blooms Taxonomy Application.
  3. Fourth grade students will discuss how germ warfare is used today, so that they will form groups of not more than 5 and each group will investigate and give oral and written reports on how chemicals and germs have been and are still used to wage combat. Blooms Taxonomy Analysis.


Short Term: Children will begin to understand how the United States became a country governed by white European males.

Long Term: Children will begin to understand how "ethnic cleansing" is still used today.

Social Studies Content Standards:

1.2 Comprehending the past.

1.3 Analyzing and interpreting the past

1.4 Judging decisions from the past

  1. Inquiry
      1. Identifying and analyzing issues

Time of Lesson:

Initial Lesson – 45-50 minutes

Two weeks to form debates (meeting twice a week)

Four weeks to investigate and do group projects


Handouts given by teacher on Michigan History in the 1700’s

Map of Michigan

Article highlighted by teacher





World News



Example of a debate from the Presidential debates



  1. Start a classroom discussion on what "ethnic cleansing" means.
  2. Ask for and give examples. The Ukrainians, the Armenians, the Irish potato famine, the German camps. Tell the class that before these events happened, the Europeans gave blankets filled with the small pox virus to the Native Americans in Michigan.
  3. Hand out summary of article from Internet and have class read parts highlighted by teacher. Show the class the map of Michigan and how this affected the wars between the Indians and the French and British.
  4. Ask for reactions to the information.
  5. Tell the class that there are two sides to every story and each side believes that they are right.
  6. Tell the class that they are going to be breaking up into two groups, the Europeans and the Native Americans and take on the roles. They must investigate why the Europeans used this method and what impact it had on the Indian population. Each side must justify the roles they played in this war.
  7. The class must use a variety of methods to find information. The library, the Internet, and any other sources are acceptable.
  8. The class will present their debates in two weeks.
  9. The class will also be divided into groups of 5 and each group will investigate a different type of "ethnic cleansing." The teacher may assign and event or the students may select one on their own with the teacher’s approval.
  10. The class will use history and social studies time twice a week to investigate.
  11. Each group will turn in a 2-3 page paper on who their group investigated, when it happened, what happened to each side, why it happened, and the result.
  12. The group must report or "teach" their event to the class and give their reactions to the events that they investigated.




Throughout time men have been trying to dominate others for limited space and resources. These types of things are still happening today. Why do you think that we don’t try harder to stop these things from happening? Do you think that someday people will be able to live together peacefully? We must remember that we are all human beings and we all basically want the same things.


The students will be evaluated on their ability to work together in groups to investigate a controversial issue and to successfully argue their side of the debate. They will also be evaluated on their ability to research examples of "ethnic cleansing" and to assemble a report of their findings.

Possible Extentions:


Lesson Plan – Huron Indians

Social Studies/Language Arts/Art

Mitch Nguyen

Creating Stories Using Pictographs


Objective: Students will learn about diverse cultural activities that will educate themselves and gain better understanding of Native American people from Michigan.

Rationale: To incorporate Michigan Native American history, culture, and philosophy into an educational program that is significant for children today.

Michigan Content Standards:


Social Studies:

Strand I. Historical Perspective

Students use knowledge of the past to construct meaningful understanding of our diverse cultural heritage and to inform their civic judgments.

Standard I.3 Analyzing and Interpreting the Past

All students will reconstruct the past by comparing interpretations written by others from a variety of perspectives and creating narratives from evidence.

Standard II.I "Diversity of People, Places, and Cultures"

All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements.


Language Arts:

Standard 1, 2, 3 Meaning and Communication:

All students will demonstrate the ability to write clearly and grammatically correct sentences, paragraphs, and compositions.

Standard 5 Literature:

All students will describe and discuss the shared human experiences depicted in literature and other texts to seek information, and the rich diversity of our society.


Standard 2 All students will apply skills and knowledge to create in the arts.



  1. "When Clay Sings" by Byrd Baylor
  2. Indian pictures writing books
  3. Pictograph dictionary or book on pictographs
  4. Modeling clay/clay pots
  5. Black markers
  6. Map of the United States
  7. Paper


To determine what the students know prior to instruction, I will ask the students for ways that we can learn about culture. I will write the students responses on the chalkboard.

I will ask the students what they already know about the Native Americans. Who are the Native Americans? When did they come here? How did they get here?


Day 1

  1. Talk about the different tribes of Michigan Native Americans then asks that the students locate the regions on a map.
  2. Tell the students that they will be learning about Detroit Native Americans and their culture by reading the Native Americans pottery.
  3. Tell the students that Native Americans decorated their pottery with pictures. These pictures told a story about what was going on in the tribe at the time.
  4. Call the students over to the reading circle and reads Byrd Baylor’s "When Clay Sings."
  5. After reading the book, ask the students to describe their impressions of Native American life based on the story.
    "What were your initial thoughts while listening to the story?"
    "How did these pots tell us so much about their culture?"
    "Do you think it is a unique way to learn about culture?"
  6. Explains to the students that by examining the pictures on the remains of the pots, they will learn about the beliefs, customs, and everyday lives of these people.
  7. Asks the students, "Why didn’t Native Americans just write down their stories like we do today?
  8. Explains that Native Americans did not use the alphabet we use today. They used pictures to represent what they wanted to say. These pictures were called pictographs.
  9. Hands out a pictograph dictionary to each student, so that they can see what it is.

Day 2


  1. Tell students a brief story about Michigan Native Americans and then show them how to translate it using the pictograph dictionary.
  2. Tell students that they will use pictographs to write a story, imagining themselves as tribal members.
  3. The students will then transfer their story to a clay pot using black marker.
  4. To determine if the students have mastered the lesson, each student will be able to list at least three ways to learn about culture. Students will also write their stories.
  5. Check the students’ stories for correct grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.

Extended Activities:

Students will learn about other cultures, such as African Americans. Students will explore African American heritage. Also, the students will read the book "Tar Beach" by Louise Hamilton and will be able to give a short report about African American heritage.

I could also invite Native American community members (and/or parents of students) to discuss their jobs, daily lives, their culture, past times, and what it means to them to be an American Indian.

Megan Riesenberger

Unit: The Huron Indians

Lesson Title: Culminating Activity (Open House / Powwow Party)


  1. To have students tie together all of the information that they have learned throughout the Native American lessons and activities.
  2. To have students’ parents and families see what they have been doing in school.
  3. To have students become "teachers" themselves by teaching their parents and families about the Huron Indians and making fry bread.

Rationale: Parents and families will come to the classroom and participate in a Native American powwow with their children. They will be aware of what has been going on in their child’s classroom, and will interact with their learning experiences.


  1. Students will present materials and work that they have done throughout the unit.
  2. Fry bread

Opener: Each student will show his or her favorite piece of work that was created or will share his or her favorite fact that was learned.



  1. The last week of the unit, send home invitations to the open house with the students.
  2. The day of the open house, open the presentation by explaining what has been learned throughout the unit, and what will be done at the open house/ powwow.
  3. Have students show work or tell what their favorite fact or story about the Huron Indians has been.
  4. Have students tell about the fry bread and pass out the bread as the teacher makes it.
  5. The teacher will read "The Legend of the Dreamcatcher" while the parents and families eat their fry bread.
  6. The students will show each of their dreamcatchers that they have made.

Wrap-Up: The parents will show what they have learned at the powwow.

Evaluation: The teacher will watch and listen to students as they interact with and "teach" their parents and families about the Huron Indians. After the open house has ended, the students will share what their favorite part of the powwow was.

References and Materials

1. Bonvillain, Nancy. The Huron. Ed. Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea

House, 1989.

2. Carter, Forrest. The Education of Little Tree. University of New Mexico Press, 1976.


3. Doherty, Craig A., and Katherine M. Doherty. The Huron. Vero Beach:

Rourke Publications, 1994.

4. Erdos, Richard, and Alfonso Ortiz. American Indian Myths and Legends

5. McConnell, David B. Michigan’s Story. Hillsdale: Hillsdale Educational

Publishers, 1996.

  1. ramseyil/natauth.ntm.


Feathered headbands

Paper guns

Brown paper



Drawing paper



Papermache supplies (newspaper, balloons, paste)



Handouts given by teacher on Michigan history in the 1700’s

Map of Michigan / Map of United States

Article highlighted by teacher on germ warfare used against Native Americans

Videotape of Presidential debate

"When Clay Sings" by Byrd Baylor

Indian pictures writing books

Pictograph dictionary or book on pictographs

Modeling clay / clay pots

Fry bread supplies (milk, flour, salt, baking powder, vegetable oil, skillet)