Lesson Plan

Unit Two Subsistence: Nutrition and Health

Word cloud with key words from Unit 2  Made in Taxedo.com
Word cloud with key words from Unit 2 Made in Taxedo.com
Health, History, Language Arts, Nutrition, Reading, Social Studies, Writing
45-60 Minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
Social Studies:
Fourth Grade
Eighth Grade
8.1.1 ,8.1.2 

Language Arts: (writing)
Fourth Grade
Eighth Grade


Changes in nutritional habits play an important role in overall health and well being.  As dietary habits of the Three Affiliated Tribes (TAT) changed from their traditional high vegetable/ high protein diets to those more inclined to high carbohydrates/ high fat, diabetes incidence rose to the rates observed today with at least 89% of TAT members expected to have some form of diabetes by age 55.


Students will:
Discuss health and subsistence in the context of the Three Affiliated Tribes perspective.
Prepare a nutritious bowl of corn soup.


The teacher will need to provide a slow cooker or large pot and source of heat to make corn soup. Also be sure there are small dishes and serving utensils available when the soup is served.

Save the last word for me is a discussion format controlled by the students rather than directed by the teacher. The small-group setting is more inviting to students who are reluctant to talk in front of an entire class, and in addition, gives them time to rehearse their comments by writing their thoughts on index cards.

Students are given an opportunity to adopt a more reflective stance as they read.
tudents are encouraged to talk about things in the reading that they personally connect to.
Students are able to hear classmates' views before offering their own, which gives them the chance to adjust their comments and reflect on ideas before expressing them to others.


Fresh ears of corn
Note cards
Student notebooks
Myfitnesspal.com free calorie counter
Corn Soup Recipe


Part 1
Tell student that today they will be investigating health and nutrition from a Hidatsa perspective. Each class should start the period by preparing a large pot of corn soup using the corn that they dried in lesson 1. This soup will need to cook for three hours, so the teacher will need to have a place to store it until it can be warmed and eaten the following day.

 The teacher may choose to prepare the soup before class and warm it up before the beginning of the class.


(Savethe last word for me)



Have students locate five statements that they find interesting or would like to comment on - statements with which they agree or disagree or that contradict something they thought they knew. Have students place a light pencil mark next to their five statements.



Distribute five index cards to each student, a card for each selected statement. Have students write one statement on the front side of a card. On the reverse side, have them write comments about the statement. For example, a student reading a selection about wolves might select the following statement for the front of the card. "Wolves are sometimes illegally shot by ranchers who fear that their livestock will be attacked". On the reverse side, the student might write the following comment. "Ranchers ought to have a right to protect their animals from dangerous predators like wolves."



Divide the class into small groups of four or five members. All students share one of their five statements with other group members. The first student reads a statement to the group, however the student is not allowed to make a comment until the other members of the group give their reactions or responses. The first student gets "the last word" in the discussion.


The attitude during this phase is: Here is a statement that interested me. You tell me what you think, and then I will tell you what I think.



Have students continue the process until everyone in the group has shared one statement and has provided the "lastword" in the discussion. Begin another round with student's sharing another of their cards.



When the students have finished sharing information ask them to describe how diets and life styles have changed from the time of the Knife River Indian Villages to the present for the Mandan,Hidatsa, and Arikara.



Allow students to practice Hidatsa words related to subsistence for the remainder of the class period.



Students will each have four or five index cards with information on them related to health and subsistence
Students ask and answer questions during group discussion.
Students make a culturally significant and healthy pot of Corn soup.

Park Connections

During the Knife River Indian Villages years, the people ate healthy foods and lived more active lifestyles. After relocating to areas that were less favorable for agriculture, they became more sedentary and began to adopt more European-like eating habits including eating commodities and in more modern times fast foods.


GoDigital by visiting myfitnesspal.com and assist students with developing healthy habits of diet and exercise. The app for iPad is free and easy to use.

Gardening is a wonderful community activity and makes a great after school project. Students could research different gardening methods and plant a garden. Or invite a gardener to come and plant a garden with them at the school. 

Another idea might be to plant seeds in early spring in paper cups and let students bring seedlings home to try to grow them.  This makes a great journaling activity if they monitor the progress of their seedlings from start to harvest.

Additional Resources

Recipe for corn soup

Book: Story of Corn

Book: Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

Website: www.mhanation.com

Myfitnesspal app for iPad


Diabetes, tribal government, dialysis, commodities, federal surplus, Indian Taco, PowWow, corn soup