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Apsáalooke Writing Tribal Histories Project

Subject: Science

Grade: 5-12

Topic: Science

Content: Students will learn about Apsáalooke plant names and indentify plants by their uses.

Goals: Students will be able to identify at least three plants used by the Apsáalooke people, and explain how they were used.


Science Standard 3: Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.

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.

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 3: The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs. Additionally, each tribe has its own oral histories, which are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America.

Objectives: Students will learn that the Apsáalooke were earth scientists who learned from their environment which plants they could use for sustenance and healing. After completing this lesson students will understand that not all healing remedies come from a pharmacy and that not all food comes from a grocery store, or even a garden.


Plant Handout [PDF]
Plant Cards [PDF]

Lesson plan, plant specimens [when possible], and copies of plant cards, Teachers may also want to utilize a copy of Alma Snell’s “A Taste of Heritage” included in lesson plan bibliography and a copy of Montana Plants and Animals.

Introduction: The teacher will read to students about Apsáalooke plant uses and show pictures and/or specimens of the plants.

Development: Students will learn about the diverse ways in which science is used across Montana.

Practice: Students will play a match-up card game with the plant cards.

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students will identify three plants and their possible uses by the Apsáalooke.

Closure: Students will discuss what they have learned about some of the native plants of Montana.