Stick Land Management

Subject: Science – Social Studies

Grade: 6-12

Topic: Land Management and Conservation

Content: Students will gain a better understanding of the strength of their natural environment, the difficulty in protecting it, and the steps needed to better care for it.

Goals: Students will be able to express the frustration tribes” land management departments experience, and how their decisions are reflective of historical developments as well as cultural preferences.


Science Standard 5: Students, through the inquiry process, understand how scientific knowledge and technological developments impact communities, cultures and societies.

Science Standard 6: Students understand historical developments in science and technology.

Social Studies Standard 1: Students access, synthesize, and evaluate information to communicate and apply social studies knowledge to real world situations.

Social Studies Standard 2: Students analyze how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance to understand the operation of government and to demonstrate civic responsibility.

Social Studies Standard 3: Students apply geographic knowledge and skills (e.g., location, place, human/environment interactions, movement, and regions).

Social Studies Standard 4: Students demonstrate an understanding of the effects of time, continuity, and change on historical and future perspectives and relationships.

Social Studies Standard 5: Students make informed decisions based on an understanding of the economic principles of production, distribution, exchange, and consumption.

Social Studies Standard 6: Students demonstrate an understanding of the impact of human interaction and cultural diversity on societies.

Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 4: Reservations are lands that have been reserved by the tribes for their own use through treaties, statutes, and executive orders and were not “given” to them. The principle that land should be acquired from the Indians only through their consent with treaties involved three assumptions:

  1. Both parties to treaties were sovereign powers.
  2. Indian tribes had some form of transferable title to the land.
  3. Acquisition of Indian lands was solely a government matter not to be left to individual colonists. Essential Understanding 7: Under the American legal system, Indian tribes have sovereign powers, separate and independent from the federal and state governments. However, the extent and breadth of tribal sovereignty is not the same for each tribe.

Objectives: After completing the activity students will be able to discuss both the simpler and more difficult goals in land management practices.

Materials: Apsáalooke text book, long thin dowel or stick.

Introduction: Students will read the Apsáalooke text book chapter on land management and discuss how a tribe’s land management practices reflect their history and culture, and the challenges they must face.

Development: This hands-on activity will bring students face to face with land management challenges and an understanding of goal setting.

Practice: Students will all touch the stick at the same time, then break the stick in half and repeat. Continue until the stick is very small. It’s easier to start with a simple goal and work up to a harder one. The teacher will promote discussion among students regarding the strength of the stick and of nature. Was it stronger when smaller? Is it easier to start with a small goal and build from there? Do the tribe’s land management practice reflect this?

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students should be able to explain or write about, at grade level, a specific tribal land management practice and how the Apsáalooke Nation’s choices reflect their history, new technology available to them, and their culture.

Closure: Students will discuss the differing values and practices of land management, how these are affected by technological advancement, and how they may change in the future.