Texas Indians Curriculum Guide

by Carol Johnson

Overview Students learn about Native Americans that lived in Texas before the arrival of the Europeans.
Objectives Students study characteristics of Texas Indians and evaluate how the environment affected their way of life. Make a distinction between adaptation to the physical environment and adaptation to the social environment. The physical environment is the plants, animals, terrain and weather. The social environment is the other cultures a group is in contact with.
Level(s) Grade 4
Time Allotted 2-5 weeks
Subject Area(s) Language arts, science, social studies
Correlation to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

Grade 4
Language Arts 4B, 13C, 13E, 13F, 14C, 15A, 15C, 16B, 17C, 17D, 18B, 18C, 19B-I, 21E, 25B
Science 3C, 4A, 8A-C, 10B
Social Studies 2A, 1B, 4D, 5A, 7A, 7B, 8B, 9A, 9A-C, 10A, 20B, 20C, 22A, 23A, 23D, 23E
Technology Applications 1A, 1B, 1E, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B, 6C, 7A, 7B, 7C, 8A, 8C, 9B, 10A, 10B, 11A, 11B, 12B
  • Internet access


Department of Education.
ERIC digest
Texas Parks and Wildlife sites
  • Presentation software (KidPix, Hyperstudio, MPower)
  • Word Processor (Microsoft Works)
  • Web Authoring Software (Netscape Gold, Claris HomePage)
  • Digital camera
  • Scanner

Activity Number


1 Students browse through the following sites to locate and compare Indian tribes found in Texas. Some tribes found in Texas are:
Atakapan, Apache, Caddo, Cherokee, Coahuiltecan Comanche, Jumano, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Wichita http://www.texasindians.com http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/edu/indian/isplash.htm
Class discussion
2 In cooperative groups, students research location, physical environment, food, home structure, arrival/departure to Texas, and other interesting facts of a particular Indian tribe. Observation and evaluation of group work
3 Each student types a report about his/her topic, and compiles information with other group members to create a group report about their tribe. Using this report, the group creates a project to share their information with the class (i.e. poster, diorama, slide show.) Evaluation of student work
4 Each group presents their tribe to the entire class. Others will take notes on spreadsheet with headings: Indian, Location, Home Name, Home Style, Food Acquisition, Types of Food, Special Facts. Observation of group presentation
Evaluation of spreadsheet
5 Have each group import work into a class web page. Evaluation of web page

Reading and critical thinking.

by R Edward Moore

Have the class read one of the myths on the Alabama-Coushatta, Caddo, Comanche, Lipan Apache or Wichita pages. See the Myth page for a list of the myths. Then use the purposes of myths from the Myths page to lead a discussion about the myth. Once the children get the idea, divide them into groups. Have each group each read one of the other myths, one group to each myth. Each group then decides among themselves how to interpret their myth the way the first myth was done in class. Each group then presents their myth and their interpretation of the myth to the rest of the class. Make sure this is done in two steps, first explain the myth then explain the meaning separately and in that order.

To get even more out of this exercise explain the different kinds of environments; physical, social, and cultural, to them first. Have them look for and include these environments in their exercises. They could make lists of the plants and animals in the myths. They could also make a list of the kinds of people found in some of the myths, warrior, chief, shaman etc... This reading assignment is best done after the children have completed the Texas Indians unit so they can apply their knowledge of Texas Indians. Be sure and match up the kids with the tribe they studied so they can apply their specialized knowledge from the Texas Indian unit. Each group should have kids who did the tribe in the story.

For more myths get a copy of "Texas Indian Myths and Legends". This is my favorite because it reads easily. There are other books of Indian myths out there and some of them are quite good, so check your library or our bookstore. Try to stick to authentic Indian myths and not newer stories with Indian themes. Try to stick with Texas Indian stories so the kids can apply their knowledge.

For individual readings have each child read a myth and then draw a illustration to go with the myth. (If you get any good pictures Jane Archer and I would love to have a copy!!!) Each poster could have a written caption and explanation of who and what it represents.

The best way to use the myths would be to do several of these activities. This way each child can be evaluated individually on the posters and as part of the group.

Credits This unit was created by Carol Johnson, 4th grade Technology Demonstration Teacher at F. M. Gilbert Elementary School, 1501 E. Pioneer, Irving, Texas as part of the 1997-1998 TIE Grant.
Email caroljohnson@irving.isd.tenet.edu

Copyright, Texarch Associates and Carol Johnson, 1999, 2000,


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