Creature Feature - Using Native American Choctaw Literature

Overview and Objectives

Enduring Understandings and Big Ideas

Native American stories often reflect the natural environment. One class of Choctaw stories tells how animals native to the area came to have certain characteristics.

This learning center uses such animal tales as a springboard for writing poetry about animals native to Mississippi.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will read and recall Choctaw legends.
  2. Students will research a creature in a Choctaw legend.
  3. Students will create poetry about a creature in Choctaw legends.
  4. Students will create an art project based on their research about a creature from Choctaw legends.

Note: Other Native American tribes can adapt this lesson into their curriculum by including their tribe's animal tales and legends.

Time required.

Five 50-minute class periods.


  • 8 ½ “ X 11” "Characteristic Cards" with the following information, each on a separate card:
  1. lays eggs
  2. bears live young
  3. herbivore
  4. carnivore
  5. omnivore,
  6. can swim
  7. can fly
  8. has claws
  9. has a pouch for young
  10. vertebrate
  11. invertebrate
  12. nocturnal
  13. cold-blooded
  14. warm-blooded
  15. can hop
  16. can jump
  17. can run
  18. etc.
  • Music that features animals (e.g. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “Move It “(from the movie Madagascar), etc.)
  • Choctaw tales featuring animals; see the Resources page for a listing and information on where to obtain copies of the stories.
  • 3” x 5” index cards or Creature Feature research sheet.
  • Computers or Internet information that has been printed if computer is not available.
  • Books about animals
  • Art supplies (paper and crayons or markers, scissors) for trioramas
  • Art supplies for creature creations