Overview and Introduction

Grades 5-8: Activities can be extended, deepened, or eliminated to provide differentiated instruction.

  • Students develop research skills in science and history while gaining an understanding of one group of North  America's indigenous people.
  • Students become aware of the effects of changes in population on natural plant life ecology.
  • Students understand the changes that occur in culture as a result of cultural interaction.
  • Students reflect on personal and cultural history as they compare and contrast sharing of research.

Enduring Understandings and Big Ideas

  • People of all cutures use natural resources to make tools, utensils, and household necessities.
  • People of all cultures have talented artisans.
  • A group's  use of natural resources is affected by the ecological balance of a place.
  • Overpopulation, lumbering, and farming affect the ecological balance of a place.

Essential Questions

  • How are basket-making methods similar and different in various Native American tribes?
  • How has the use of Choctaw baskets changed from the past to modern times?
  • What are the steps in the process of making a Choctaw basket?
  • How has increased population, lumbering, and farming affected canebrakes (river cane) and in turn the Native American culture?

Time required

These lesson will take 4-8 class periods or teacher choice.  Lessons can be used as group or individual activities.

Classroom resources

  • Computer access
  • Internet access
  • PowerPoint software
  • U.S. map
  • Art paper
  • Colored pipe cleaners
  • Graph paper
  • Markers/pencils/colored pencils/etc.
  • Scissors
  • Venn diagram template

Learning Objectives

  • Students will describe the geographical location and ecosystem of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
  • Students will investigate the ecology of canebrakes and discover their ecological and historical importance.
  • Students will investigate the process of making a Choctaw basket from harvesting the cane to the finished product.
  • Students will compare and contrast Choctaw and Cherokee baskets using a Venn digaram.  This can be extended to include many other tribes if needed for group work or to incorporate tribes in students' area.
  • Students will read and discuss a short story written by a Native Amercan author.
  • Students will investigate the uses of Choctaw baskets in the past and in modern times.
  • Students will use symmetry to design and create a basket drawing.
  • Students will do hands-on art by weaving a paper basket or making a basket from a purchased kit.