Native American Storytelling Seeks to Explain the Heavens

Overview and Objectives

In this Learning Center, students will learn about the roles of storytelling in different indigenous and Native American cultures as students compare and contrast origin myths from Native American and Greek mythology.  Through this application of inquiry utilizing print and non-print texts, storytelling, creative writing, and scientific applications, students can build an understanding of beliefs of humans that explain natural phenomena. Students will read the indigenous myths and view videos, observe constellations within star labs, and use a star finder to locate constellations in the night sky.

Enduring Understandings:

  1. Storytelling is a universal form of expressing and communicating.
  2. Humans everywhere pass down important stories from person to person.
  3. Stories are dynamic in the hearing and telling, adapting to reflect the cultural communities in which they are told, heard, and seen.
  4. Throughout history, people in every part of the world developed detailed systems for scientific inquiry.
  5. Keen observation skills have played a part in the explanation of all human groups in understanding the Earth and the heavens and the roles they play in life.
  6. Specific ways of travel, planting, hunting and various aspects of everyday life depended on knowledge of astronomical phenomena.

Time required:

5 class periods (based on fifty minute intervals) would be required for this learning center.

A teacher could extend this unit of study to individualize the learning center.

Classroom resources:

  • Clash of Titans video (optional)
  • Smart board

Internet and videos found from the following sites (optional)



  • Star Lab Portable Planetarium (optional)
  • Native American Mythology Planetarium Cylinder (optional)
  • Greek Mythology Planetarium Cylinder (optional)


·         Greek Mythological Genre (supplied by the teacher)

·         Native Mythological Genre (information contained in links listed above)

·         Script from Star Lab Resource Book (there are a number available; see for examples that can be purchased)

·         Star Finder Pattern: Download from

·         Writing Assignment (see Teaching Strategies section of this learning center)


 Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will gain an understanding of the origins of Native American mythological stories.
  2. Students will rewrite an origin story about a constellation from a new point of view.
  3. Students will develop an understanding of constellations through observation by the creation and use of a star finder within a simulated star lab planetarium as well as the night skies.