This lesson plan was compiled by participants of the Teacher Training Seminar Media and Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the Center for United States Studies in Wittenberg.
Grade: This lesson plan is suitable for grades 8 – 11;
Rationale: To develop an understanding of the life and the culture of contemporary Native Americans and to correct stereotypes about Native Americans;
Time: 3 lessons á 45 min.
Materials: cartoon or picture and/or story and/or video tape, fact sheet
Fact Sheet: The Navajos (PDF)
An Interesting Story from a Navajo (PDF)
Assignment: Look at the cartoon/picture, what comes to your mind? Describe the picture
The picture should be a rather stereotypical image of a Native American, e.g. on a horse, with a headdress, in front of a tippi, etc.
Assignment: Find a suitable caption for the cartoon/picture.
1.3. Talking about traditions/revision
Assignment: What do you know/remember about the traditional way of life of the Native Americans?
- lived together in tribes
- lived on tribal land
- moved around from place to place
- older ones taught younger ones
- lived on hunting, gathering, fishing
- battles and wars with other tribes
- clichés: piece pipe, medicine man, war dance
- strong beliefs in their gods
- close relationship to nature
2. Story “An Interesting Story from a Navajo”
2.1. Listening only
Assignment: What is the story about? Who is confronting who in the story? What ist the underlying message of the story?
A number of issues can be raised here, e.g.:
- Navajos as inhabitants of a region that looks like the surface of the moon (deserted, unfertile, etc.);
- NASA (technology) and Native American (nature) confront each other—two worlds meet;
- humor used to describe the colonialization of Native Americans by Europeans/Euro-Americans;
Assignment: underline the key sentence and give reasons for your choice
Expected answer: last sentence (see text)
Assignment/speculation (note on board/right column): What do you think life is like today?
- families, poverty
- ordinary jobs/badly paid
- relationship to their traditions
- problems with alcohol and drugs
Homework/assignment: Collect all information about the following topics. Use the local library, reference books, media, or the internet.
Assignment: What do you know about the Navajos (or some other tribe)?
If brainstorming does not provide enough information use the worksheet for reading.
2 . Video on Native Americans1 (“Navajos”)
2.1. Watch a video on Native Americans (about 30 min)
Assignment: Contemporary life (see worksheet): Add as much information from the video presentation as possible and put results on board.
1. Organizing group work
Assignment: Use your own material and the material you get from the teacher and search for information to the fixed topics:
2. Group work
3. Presentation of results
After your research, present the results to the class (poster, transparency, flip chart)