The Big Idea Activity

How do different places affect the way people live?

Make a Cultural Survival Kit

Survival Kit

Suppose you could travel back in time. Pick a Native American group that you would like to visit. Collect and draw pictures of items to pack in your survival kit. What tools and items would you need to survive? California Standard 5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and [MORE]

Research RoadmapPrint the Research Roadmap. Use it to take notes and hand it in to your teacher when you make your presentation.


Topic Finder

Need help finding items to add to your survival kit? Explore these ideas for research... Native American History.

Case Study

Here's an example of a topic you could choose for the Big Idea Activity:
Did you know what crops Native Americans called the "Three Sisters of Life"? Most of Native American agriculture was based on corn, beans, and squash. Instead of planting the crops in rows like the Europeans, Native Americans planted the "three sisters" together on a hill. Like human sisters, the three plants have a special relationship. Each plant helps the others to grow better. This is called a symbiotic relationship.

Fun Facts Native American created many legends to teach their children the importance of these three crops.


Does your home state have an influence on your leisure activities or the sports you play? Do you think people from Colorado ski more than people in Louisiana? Do people from Florida spend more time at the beach than people in Montana? Make a list of what you would pack in your suitcase for a summer trip to the Mojave Desert in California. Make another list of what you would pack in your suitcase for a winter trip to Denali National Park in Alaska.

Winter Cold Survival Tips

Desert Survival Tips


Early Peoples

The Hohokam

Around A.D. 300, the Hohokam built waterways called canals in present-day Arizona. This early irrigation system moved water through their fields of crops.

The Pueblo

The Pueblo built huge homes on the sides of steep cliffs out of adobe mix of mud and straw. Take a look at some cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.

The Mound Builders

Some Native Americans built huge mounds to bury their dead. Other groups used the mounds for religious ceremonies or to study the night sky. Learn more about Emerald Mound.

Native People and Their Cultures

Native Americans of the West

The Arctic region has one of the harshest environments on earth. Yet the Inuit have lived there for 2,000 years. Learn more about their lives.

People of the Southwest

Katchina dolls teach Hopi children about their culture, land, and religious beliefs. Learn more about them. Be sure to click "Hopi tithu" to see pictures of some dolls.

Native Americans of the Plains

The Plains Indians used a travois to carry their things. Built like a sled, the travois could carry belongings or people.

People of the Eastern Woodlands

The Iroquois made fine beadwork called wampum. These items were used as gifts or for trade.