Lesson Plan

Native American Cultures of Mississippi

Stickball stick on the ground

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
Geography for Life Mississippi Standard 17


 In what ways do people and societies express their cultures?
 What is culture?
 How did the Mississippi Native Americans express their culture?
 What are rituals?
 What are some examples of Native American religious and cultural rituals?
 What are mounds?
 Why and how were the mounds constructed?
 Where are the mounds located in Mississippi?
 Why were the mounds significant to the Native American tribal groups?


Teacher’s Notebook

For the complete lesson plan, please email natr_education@nps.gov or call 1-800-305-7417. Please indicate whether or not you need an accessible lesson plan.

Before, During, and After strategies will: Promote engagement and comprehension


Using an Anticipation Guide will:

  • Increase interest, develop motivation, and engage students.
  • Set purposes for reading texts.
  • Activate prior knowledge to see what students already know about a topic.
  • Helps students make connections to the reading.


Explicit Instruction outlines:

  • What the learning goals are.
  •  Constantly monitoring understanding to make sure students are deriving meaning from instruction.


Walking around the classroom will provide opportunities to:

  • Help students that may have difficulties with the assignment.


  • Helps teachers to monitor what the students are doing in the classroom.

A Foldable “is a 3-D, student-made, interactive graphic organizer based upon a skill (Dinah Zike). They:

  • Engage students and create effective study aids.
  • Gives students a fast, hands- on activity that helps them organize and recall information.


Teacher Activities Before the Lesson:

Research information on the Mississippi mounds and their uses.

Select story maps for the lesson

Make all relevant photocopies


Lesson Hook/Preview

What would it be like to be a Native American living in Mississippi long ago?


Step-by-Step Instructions

Before Reading:

Engage students in the lesson by asking students to  complete an Anticipation guide


  1. Consider material to be read. Select major ideas with which students will work with.
  2. Write the ideas in short, clear declarative statements with some of the statements being true and some of the statements being false.
  3.  Put statements in a format that will elicit expectation and prediction.
  4. Discuss students’ expectations and predictions before they read the text.
  5. Students read the text to check or disagree with their original responses. After reading, students revisit their predictions and modify, if necessary.
  6. Variation: Agree or disagree statements can be written on the board or poster. Allow them take the quiz on their own or read the statements out to them.
  7. After completing the Anticipation Guide, lead the class on a whole group discussion on their answers, and explain why they chose the answers they chose.

During Reading: Explicit Instruction/ Direct Teaching

ü Tell students that Mississippi has been home to people of different Native American cultures and that the main tribes in the area were the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and the Natchez.

ü Tell students that this lesson will focus on learning the culture of the Mississippi Native Americans by looking at different ways they expressed their cultures.

ü Ask them to give examples of ways different groups expressed their culture. (music, dance, art, food, and buildings)

ü Ask them if anyone knows what mounds are? (Mounds are raised work of earth dating from a prehistoric or long-past period).

ü Tell them the lesson will focus on Mississippi Native American mound building cultures.

ü  Show them the PowerPoint of the Mississippi mound builders and the National Park Service maps that show the location of the mounds.

After: Class Activity- Making a Pyramid Fold or Making a Native American Mound using clay

Pyramid Foldable Directions


• one 8½ x 11 sheet of construction paper

• scissors

• glue


Before you glue your pyramid together, you will need to write down what the mounds were used for. Look below for your requirements for each side of your pyramid. Once you have drawn and colored your pyramid then cut and glue it together to make a standing 3 sided pyramid.

ü Create a Foldable which displays all the use of the mounds.

ü 3 Sided pyramid, with a different use on each side.

–    Description and drawing of what the mounds were used for on each pyramid

–    Your Name should be at the bottom right of each side


Making a Clay Native American Mound Directions:

After Reading: Conduct formative assessment by :

ü Making them write a paragraph to explain the significance of the mounds to Mississippi Native American tribes.

ü Question students to check for understanding

Conduct summative assessment by:

ü Making them retake the Anticipation guide to see how well they understood the lesson.

Give a short exit activity at the end of the lesson.


Geographic Vocabulary:

Map: A virtual representation of the earth’s surface

Culture: A group of people way of life. It includes their belief system, language, and their institutions, and organizations.

Nomads: Group of people who do not have a permanent home. They move from place to place.

Migrate: Process of moving from one place to another with the intent of permanently residing there or for a short period of time.

Archeologist: A person who studies past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery.

Mounds: A raised work of earth dating from a prehistoric or long-past period.

Rituals: A special or religious ceremony

Additional Resources

Story Map and PowerPoint Presentations

Contact Information

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Last updated: January 5, 2018