Lesson Plan

Three Affiliated Tribes History:  Post 1845 (Education and Spirituality)

Replica Sweat Lodge at Knife River Indian Villages
Replica Sweat Lodge at Knife River Indian Villages
NPS Photo
History, Language Arts, Reading, Writing
45 - 60 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
Social Studies:
Fourth Grade
4.2.2, 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.2.7, 4.2.8, 4.2.9, 4.2.10, 4.2.11, 4.3.2, 4.5.1, 4.5.3, 4.5.4, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.5.6

Eighth Grade
8.1.1 ,8.1.2 


This lesson focusses on the resilience of the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara and the progress they are making toward reestablishing their cultural identity through education and traditional spiritual beliefs. 


The student will be able to:
Formulate problem/solution text frames relating to MHA education and spirituality.
Describehow time and placeare important in history.


History Memory Bubbles are a form of concept mapping that emphasizes problem/solution relationships in history. Students will see connections that guide them toward remembering information in the context of larger issues and ideas as they are engaged in the significance of key factual materials they encounter in the text. This technique works well as astudy method to prepare for chapter exams. 

As part of this process, students will discover that corresponding information may not be available to fill all four bubbles for every term or fact. After practicing using this strategy, students can be asked to create Memory Bubbles independently as they learn new material. 


PDF of background information for teacher and student reference.
PDF History Memory Bubbles template for student handouts and projection.


Step 1
Emphasize to students that history does not consist of isolated facts, but instead tells stories of various groups of people who cope with problems and changes. Have students analyze key terms or facts in terms of their connection to a problem/solution text frame: What is the item? What does it have to do with problems discussed in the unit? What does it have to do with solving these problems? What does it have to do with the changes highlighted in this chapter? 

Step 2

Have students identify key terms or facts from the selected reading.     


Step 3

Project a blank memory bubble and model this process using a key term such as societies. In addition to identifying the term, ask students to consider the problems connected to this term and list them on the Memory Bubble under Problems: loss of societies meant loss of cultural identity and loss of purpose for many people.


Step 4

Have students work with a partner tocreate Memory Bubbles for the remainder of the targeted terms. .



When they finish, invite volunteersto share their Memory Bubbles with the entire class.



Ask the students:


What does this reading demonstrate about the cultural values of the Three Affiliated Tribes? In other words, what was important to the people who lived at Knife River Indian Villages during this time period? Allow students to discuss what the values of the people who lived at KNRI. Discussion should include, education, and spirituality. 


Step 7


Ask students to fill out the answers to the following questions in their journals.
1.   Discuss how you might feel if you had to attend a boarding school. What would you miss at home? 

2.   Make believe you are a student in aboarding school 1700 miles from home. Write a letter home to someone keeping inmind that your letter will be read before it is sent out.

3. Native Americans were prevented by the federalgovernment from practicing their spiritual beliefs. Does this violate any constitutionalguarantees?


Students will answer questionsduring teacher lead discussion and in their explorer journal.
Student collage project can be evaluated against the criteria provided (grading rubric) or criteria designated by the teacher.

Park Connections

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site preserves and protects archeological, cultural and natural resources related to the Three Affiliated Tribes, Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara,who lived at this site for 500 years prior to the 1837 smallpox epidemic which forced them to relocate to Like-a-fishook village. Many of the cultural and spiritual practicesof the tribes were lost in institutionalized boarding schools.   

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site serves as a place where members of the Three Affiliated Tribes can visit as a place of spiritual and cultural renewal, connecting them with past generations.



(Post Visit)

1.   Based on what you have read and learned during your visit to KNRI, create a collage using cutouts from magazines, newspapers, photographs, paper, yarn, bark, or other materials. Your collage should compare the contemporary Hidatsa events with those of modern day America. How are they different? How are they the same.


Boarding school, assimilate, institutionalize, American Indian Religious Freedom Act, societies, intergenerational cycles