Scholastic Explorer

Project Components

The activities in Scholastic Explorers: Native American Cultures can be used with grades 4–8. Younger students will require more structure and support in doing independent research projects.

Your Mission
In this introduction to the project, students learn about the Earthwatch Institute, which works to preserve our cultural heritage and natural resources. Students will also gain background knowledge about the Native American cultures that they will explore. Students must accept each mission before proceeding on to the field sites.

Field Sites
There are three Native American field sites:

  • Prehistoric Pueblos in Southwestern New Mexico
    Students explore 1,000-year-old ruins, believed to be the ancient settlements of early Native Americans and an important border area between two different Pueblo cultures. Archaeologist Karl Laumbach and historian Dennis O'Toole lead the exploration team. They are there to find answers about early Native American communities and to preserve the site for future generations. Field reports from this site were sent by participating teacher host Shayne Russell.
  • Utah Canyon Rock Art in Southeastern Utah
    Students visit southeastern Utah and the Four Corners region (where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet). Archaeologist Sally Coles, an expert in interpreting rock art, has led dozens of expeditions to document over 300 ancient rock art sites. Gaining an understanding of art from ancient Native American cultures may answer questions about what life was like for ancient Native Americans. Sally Coles sent field reports from this site to keep students up-to-date on her latest discoveries.
  • Oral History of the Skagit River
    Students discover the Skagit River in Washington State where researchers are trying to save the Skagit watershed and the wild salmon that live there. Scientist Dr. Ed Liebow is interviewing local Native Americans who have a history in the area. Through these interviews, Dr. Liebow hopes to learn about the past in order to make positive decisions for the future. Various teacher fellows will send field reports from this site to keep students up-to-date on what they have learned.

Field Reports
Field reports from the Rio Alamosa Prehistoric Pueblo site, the Utah Canyon Rock Art site, and the oral history of the Skagit River site are posted here. Written by teachers and scientists, students will have the unique opportunity to keep track of all the recent discoveries at both of the explorer sites.

Meet an Explorer
Students can learn more about the scientists and volunteers at these field sites in the "Meet an Explorer" section. Students can meet the team members by reading a biography of Dr. Edward Liebow from the Oral History of the Skagit River, Sally Cole from the Canyon Rock Art project, and Karl Laumbach and teacher Shayne Russell from the Prehistoric Pueblos project. Additionally, students can read transcripts of various, live interviews of these explorers, conducted by users.

Be an Explorer
Students learn how to conduct their own research just like the experts in the field. They follow a step-by step process to research Native American cultures that are a part of our society today. To begin their exploration, they will use an interactive map to find tribes in their home or nearby state. They will choose a tribe to research and write a report on their findings.

Lesson Goals:

Scholastic's Online Activities are designed to support the teaching of standards-based skills. While participating in the "Scholastic Explorers Native American Cultures" project, students become proficient with several of these skills.

In the course of participating in this project, students will:

  1. Discuss the importance of exploring and preserving ancient artifacts.
  2. Use graphic organizers to order their questions and discoveries.
  3. Read online texts from the Field Sites and Field Reports to build comprehension of the process of exploration and to gain an understanding of other cultures.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of content by participating in a question and answer discussion of their reading.
  5. Use a variety of technological and informational resources to conduct research about their state's past and present Native American cultures.
  6. Gather, evaluate and synthesize data from a variety of sources.
  7. Communicate their discoveries in the form of a presentation or an informational essay.
  8. Self-evaluate their own research and presentation.
  9. Perform a historical drama in front of an audience.
  10. Trace historical developments of a specific culture
  11. Identify the values, lifestyles, and cultures of varied Native American groups

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