Lesson Plan

The People:  Pre-1845

Picture of Chief Bad Gun (Son of Four Bears) Mandan Chief and Chief Four Dance Hidatsa
Picture of Chief Bad Gun (Son of Four Bears) Mandan Chief and Chief Four Dance Hidatsa

Three Tribes Museum

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
History, Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies, Writing
45 - 60 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
ND 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 explores the history of the Three Affiliated Tribes from Pre-1845.  Students will learn about Early Villages, Sacagawea, and other people of historic significance who visited the region and villages for exploration and trade.

Students will create visual representations or graphic organizers that demonstrate connections among key concepts and ideas as concept maps.

See the extensions for an example of a concept map.


After completing this lesson, the students will:
Discuss and apply knowledge transfer through oral history as it was used by Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara.
Compare and contrast two or more groups: Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people and mainstream America.
Express how time and place are important in history.


This lesson provides the background that students should have before they visit the park to ensure that they get the most out of their visit. 

Using the lessons:
Ideally the pre-visit lessons should all be completed prior to bringing the students to Knife River Indian Villages to ensure that students have a basic knowledge to facilitate deeper learning at the site.


Post-visit activities will provide an opportunity to revisit lessons learned and are intended to provide closure to the experience.


Concept Maps or Mind Maps are structured outlines that can effectively introduce new material to students (Buehl, 2001).  Students encounter and discuss new vocabulary before reading a challenging passage. They have a visual outline of major ideas and relationships between important information to guide them as they read. Lesson 1 uses the Mind Map technique to encourage students to consider how their prior knowledge fits into the new material they will study throughout the remainder of the curriculum.


Students are introduced to Hidatsa life ways through the book:Goodbird the Indian: His Story, depicting the life of Edward Goodbird, a Hidatsa Indian from Fort Berthold Reservation in Western North Dakota.

Please be sure to download the background reading for this lesson. You may need to click on the images tab for the documents tab to appear.



Students ask questions as they read Good Bird The Indian: His Story.
Students share their personal stories in class.
Students answer the discussion questions.



Student mind maps will be complete and thorough with all of the main concepts incorporated.

Park Connections

This lesson provides the context for future learning by introducing students to the people, time and place where the cultural resources exist.

The purpose of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is to preserve,protect, and interpret archeological and natural resources as they relate to cultural and agricultural lifestyles of Northern Great Plains Indian peoples, and to conduct research to further understand how these lifestyles have changed over time.


Allow students to listen to the Hidatsa language by playing the CDs provided.

GoDigital with the mind mapping activity by incorporating iPads. Below is an example of a simple mind map that was created using a free app called Idea Sketch.

Another great way to connect this curriculum to the digital era would be to have students begin planning a Digital Story Telling project. They should begin thinking about the story of the Three Affiliated Tribes and what parts of each unit they would like to include in their story. There are free apps that can be used with the iPad such as Videolicious or this project can work very well in Windows Movie Maker a free movie editor for the PC environment.

uring the site visit students will be able to take digital photos to include in their story that can be shared among the entire class, otherwise there is always the Internet.

Additional Resources

Idea Sketch app for iPad

Multi media story board template

Educational Audio: Hidatsa words CD


Hidatsa, Mandan, Arikara, Trade network, artifact, earth lodge, quill work, beadwork, Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark, Corps of Discovery, oral recitation, societies, tribal origins Sakakawea, Sacajawea.

Last updated: April 10, 2015