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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Exploring How Native Americans Lived in Harmony with Nature
Exploring How Native Americans Lived in Harmony with Nature 

HOW IT WORKS
Exploring How Native Americans Lived in Harmony with Nature is an interdisciplinary program that infuses the elements of balanced literacy pedagogy with technology, arts, and research. Through explorations using a variety of resources (trade books, photographs, a film strip, cooking, and trips), students become familiar with how Native Americans of the Northeast, like the Iroquois and Algonquians, lived. In particular, they learn how and why Native Americans respected the natural environment. The components of balanced literacy play an integral role in the students’ explorations. For example, shared reading lessons are used to build up their knowledge base as well as to model comprehension strategies that readers use to make sense of nonfiction materials. Strategies include stopping after each paragraph to determine the main idea and supporting sentences, using context and syntactic clues to decipher unfamiliar words, and underlining and note taking. Students also learn how to use nonfiction elements (illustrations, captions, labels, etc.) to construct meaning. Children practice these strategies with new text to gain competency as well as to learn new content material. Afterward, they collaborate with a peer or work by themselves to apply these skills in researching their topics on how Native Americans used natural resources to survive. They learn how the research they compile and the various features of HyperStudio can be integrated to create a multimedia project. 

THE STUDENTS 
Twenty-five students of various levels of achievement and learning abilities participated in the program. Originally, this unit was covered in fourth grade, but was adapted to third grade and can be further modified to meet the needs of older students. 

THE STAFF
This is Meelai A. Chow’s second year teaching third grade in P.S. 124 since completing her master’s degree. Wei Yee Chan, the Multimedia Lab teacher, assisted with the technical aspects of the program. After seeing how excited students got in computer class, the need became apparent for the creation of an authentic opportunity for them to apply technology to what was being taught in class. The individual programs complemented and enriched each other. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

Trade books with ample illustrations and of various levels are necessary. To make the learning more concrete, a film strip or video and a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Native Americans are encouraged. A multimedia Lab equipped with computer, KidPix, HyperStudio, and word-processing software is needed for the second part of the program. 

OVERALL VALUE 
How Native Americans Lived in Harmony with Nature makes learning more meaningful to students because subject areas are interconnected. The exploratory approach of the program also reinforces the idea that students and teacher are learning together and teaching each other. As the students actively participate and collaborate in this exploration, they gain insights into how Native Americans depended on and respected nature. In essence, students become teachers as they apply what they have learned to create a research report using an innovative medium that will be showcased in the school’s literacy fair to celebrate their creativity and talents. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Social Studies 
Language Arts Technology
Arts

GRADES
Grade
3-6

MORE INFORMATION

Meelai A. Chow
Yung Wing School
P.S. 124
40 Division Street
New York, NY 10002
Phone: (212) 966-7237
Fax: (212) 219-3069
Meelai_c@yahoo.com
Principal
Janet Won

 

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2002-2003

 

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