Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Native American

The study of Native Americans will be greatly enhanced by the hands-on interaction with the many artifacts included in the traveling suitcase.


Arrowheads, pottery sherds, porcupine quill necklace, weaving, spear, deerskin, turtle shell rattle, grass basket, Timeline with Stone Tool picture cards, Indian Dwelling poster, and authentic Native American music


Display all of the items in the suitcase for the students to observe. Discuss what they think each item is and how it was used. Have them explain their answers.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: OV.1.1.1, IR.1.2)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: OV.3.7.1, IR.12.5.4)

Have students write 5 reasons why it is important to study Native Americans. Share reasons with each other. After studying Native Americans look back over the reasons and add or delete entries on the list.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: W.4.2.4, W.4.3.8, W.4.4.9)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.4.5.6, W.4.6.6, W.5.5.3, IR.12.5.4)

Using self-hardening clay make a pinch pot or a coil pot using guidelines included in the folder. Decorate with paint or incise a design with a sharp pencil.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: A.1.3, A.1.4, A.2.4, A.2.6, A.3.6, A.3.9)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: A.1.3, A.2.5, A.2.7, A.2.9)

Students can make necklaces of purchased beads, different sizes or shapes of macaroni, or make a necklace or jewelry of clay and then paint them after the clay is completely dry.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: A.1.3, A.1.4, A.2.4, A.2.6, A.3.6, A.3.9)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: A.1.3, A.2.5, A.2.7, A.3.9)

Explain to children about legends. Legends are stories that are passed down from one generation to another, and they often describe how something came to be. Read a Native American legend to the students, such as The Legend of Indian Paintbrush by Tomie de Paola. Invite children to write their own classroom legend. Arrange children's legends in book format to develop a class legend anthology.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: W.4.3.3, W.4.1.5, W.4.2.6, W.4.3.7)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.4.5.2, W.4.5.3, W.4.7.7, W.4.7.6)

Have the students do their own weaving. A "Paper Weaving" lesson plan is included in the folder.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: A.2.6, A.2.2, A.2.4)

Teachers may use dried gourds that still contain seeds. The gourds may be painted and when the paint is dry, varnished with several coats to preserve them. Each gourd will have a different sound. Gourds make great rhythm instruments. Use activity sheet "Ceremonies" found in the folder. Also a "Gourd Rattle" lesson plan is included in the folder.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: A.1.3, A.2.5, A.2.7, A.2.9)

Have the children place the picture cards on the timeline in the correct order. Discuss how the tools changed over time. Compare some of our present day tools to those of the Native Americans.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: H.6.K.4, H.6.1.4, H.6.15, H.6.3.7, R.10.2.18, OV.1.2.9, IR.12.4.1)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: H.6.5.2, H.6.7.2, H.6.8.2, OV.1.8.6)

Let the children look at all of the different types of dwellings in which Native Americans. Discuss why certain houses were used in certain areas. Compare our houses today with the Native American homes.
Draw a picture that illustrates a fact that you learned about Native Americans and write a short paragraph that tells about your picture.
Great Website: www.mce.k12tn.net/indians/index.htm

  • There is a chart showing different Indian tribes and their habitat, homes, dress, food, customs, tools, weapons, art and famous Native Americans from that tribe. You will find lots of information with pictures and ideas for class projects.

Native American "Museum by Mail" Box

The Native American Box is a scaled down version of the larger suitcase. The box is mailed directly to the school and return postage is provided. The box will provide hands-on activities for the study of Native Americans.


Arrowheads, pottery sherds, performs, ghost bead necklace, beaded bracelet, burden basket, and Arkansas Indians Learning and Activity Book