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Interactive Tribal Maps: Journey Across Native America

Duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Grade Level: 6-8


  • Students will gain an understanding of the diverse Native American tribes and their geographical locations.

  • Students will develop map-reading skills and critical thinking as they explore the interactive tribal maps.

  • Students will appreciate the cultural diversity and rich history of Native American tribes.


  • Interactive tribal maps (online or printed)

  • World map and United States map

  • Whiteboard or flip chart

  • Markers, colored pencils, or crayons

  • Printed fact sheets about different Native American tribes

  • Laptops or tablets for online research (optional)

Introduction (15 minutes)

Ask: Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about Native American tribes. Write their responses on the whiteboard or flip chart. 

Discuss: Talk about the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures. Explain how we’ll explore the diverse Native American tribes through interactive maps.

Activity 1: Map Exploration (30 minutes)

Do: Provide each student or pair of students with an interactive tribal map. These maps could be physical or digital, depending on availability.

Say: Instruct students to locate and identify different Native American tribes on the map. Encourage them to explore the geographical locations and note any patterns or clusters.

Guide the students to use symbols or colors to represent different tribes. For example, they could use a key to mark each tribe with a specific color or symbol.

Discuss: Ask students to collaborate and discuss their findings. What patterns did they observe? Are there tribes located in specific regions? This encourages teamwork and critical thinking.

Activity 2: Research and Presentation (45 minutes)

Do: Assign each student or group a specific Native American tribe to research. Provide printed fact sheets for reference or guide them to reputable online resources. Students should gather information about the tribe's history, culture, traditions, and notable achievements.

Say: Encourage creativity by suggesting students create a short presentation about their assigned tribe. This could be a poster, a brief oral presentation, or a digital presentation using tools like PowerPoint or Google Slides.

Do: Allow time for students to present their findings to the class. This activity promotes research skills, public speaking, and a deeper understanding of specific tribes.

Activity 3: Creating a Class Map (30 minutes)

Discuss: Bring the class together and discuss the various tribes students have researched.

Do: Using the world map or the United States map, guide students in creating a class map collaboratively. Add symbols or colors to represent the different tribes studied.

Discuss: Talk about the diversity of Native American cultures and how they adapted to their geographical locations. Highlight the importance of preserving and respecting these cultures.

Do: Display the class map in the classroom for future reference. This activity reinforces teamwork, collaboration, and a sense of accomplishment.

Conclusion and Reflection (20 minutes)

Discuss: Conclude the lesson by revisiting the initial discussion on what students initially knew about Native American tribes. Invite students to share how their understanding has changed and what new information they have gained.

Ask: What’s the significance of respecting and appreciating different cultures? 

Say: Emphasize that learning about Native American tribes is an ongoing process. There is always more to discover.

Do: Assign a reflective writing activity where students can express what they found most interesting or surprising about the tribes they studied. Encourage them to consider the importance of cultural diversity.


Assess students based on their participation in map exploration, the accuracy of information presented in their tribe research, and the quality of their presentations. Use a rubric that includes criteria such as collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and understanding of cultural diversity.


For advanced students or additional lessons:

  1. Explore the impact of European colonization on Native American tribes.

  2. Discuss contemporary issues faced by Native American communities.

  3. Create a timeline of significant events in Native American history.

Teacher Notes

  • Ensure that the resources used in your lesson plan are age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, and respect the diversity of Native American tribes. Teachers may need to adapt activities based on the grade level and available resources.

  • This lesson plan can be used for younger grades, such as K-2. For younger students, you may want to focus on basic concepts such as introducing the idea of maps, exploring colors and symbols, and discussing general aspects of Native American cultures. The hands-on and visual aspects of the lesson, such as coloring maps and creating simple presentations, can still be used.

Written by Brooke Lektorich
Education World Contributor
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