Lesson Plan: Overview

Southeastern Native Americans' Lifestyles

Grade Level: 4th

Indian Village of Pomeiooc

Academic Standards

Standard 4-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of North America by Native Americans, Europeans, and African Americans and the interactions among these peoples.

4-2.2 Compare the everyday life, physical environment, and culture of the major Native American cultural groupings, including Eastern Woodlands, Southeastern, Plains, Southwestern, and Pacific Northwestern. 

Social Studies Literacy Elements

L. Interpret calendars, time lines, maps, charts, tables, graphs, flow charts, diagrams, photographs, paintings, cartoons, architectural drawings, documents, letters, censuses, and other artifacts

O. Consider multiple perspectives of documents and stories

P. Locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources including maps

Essential Questions

1. How did the everyday life of the Southeastern Native Americans compare to the Eastern Woodland Native Americans?

2. How did the Southeastern Native Americans depend on their environment to survive?

3. How did the Southeastern Native Americans use the environment in their daily lives?

Historical Background Notes

Students previously learned about the lifestyle of the Eastern Woodland Native Americans. Students learned that these Native Americans lived in the Northeastern portion of the United States. The Eastern Woodland Native Americans had a culture that was similar to the Southeastern Native Americans. These Native Americans hunted and gathered in similar ways, lived in similar climates and regions, and had daily activities that were similar as well.

The Native Americans of the Southeastern Region included those in South Carolina. These Native Americans were adapted to a warm climate and were permanent settlers of the region. Green (1920) stated that “An Indian town was generally so situated as to be convenient for hunting, easily protected from sudden surprise by an enemy, with a large tract of fertile field close at hand, in a bend of a river” (p. 20). Southeastern Native Americans were able to use the environment around them to satisfy all of their needs. In the winter, they built homes called “wigwams, [which] were made of poles of pine, cedar, or hickory” (Green, 1920, p. 20). In the summer they built homes called chickees that were made of wooden poles and palmetto leaves. This type of home was open on all sides to help Southeastern Native Americans during the warm summer months.

Southeastern Native Americans were hunter-gatherers and farmers. They would hunt animals such as deer, rabbit, elk, fish, bear, and squirrels. To hunt these animals they would make spears and bows and arrows out of wood and stone. In the Southeastern region, Native Americans would farm crops like corn, beans, squash, and pumpkins. They would often dry these food items to save for colder winter months. The Southeastern region was abundant with forests and the Native Americans in this region used the forests to gather many foods. They would gather “acorns, grapes, figs, strawberries, nuts, and wild potatoes” (Green, 1920, p. 26-27). These different food sources that the Native Americans used came from nature and they often would thank nature for providing for their needs.

The Native Americans in the Southeastern region were guided by a government called a council and they had a chief leader. When Hernando De Soto traveled into the Southeastern region, he found that there was a chief that led the Native Americans there (Kephart, 1936, p. 3). This chief was responsible for making decisions for the tribe, like going to war. All Southeastern Native Americans were also guided by spirits. Green (1920) stated that “the good spirit was regarded as the creator of all things” (p. 64). Many groups referred to the good spirit as the Great Spirit. Green (1920) also stated that “the bad spirit tormented people with sickness, disappointment, hunger, and all ill fortune that came to them” (p. 65). Native Americans showed respect and paid tribute to these spirits by holding ceremonies in their honor.

It is important for students to realize the connection that the Southeastern Native Americans had with nature. Nature provided everything that they Southeastern Native Americans needed in order to survive. In this way, the Southeastern Native Americans are similar to the Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands Region.


Primary Sources

Digital Images from Florence Museum of Art, Science, and History - artifacts, see Florence Museum Artifacts Images.

White, John. (1586). Indians Fishing [Watercolor drawing] Retrieved September 5, 2008, from Virtual Jamestown, Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia.

White, John. (1586). Indian Village of Pomeiooc [Watercolor drawing] Retrieved September 5, 2008, from Virtual Jamestown, Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia.

White, John. (1586). Cooking in a Pot [Watercolor drawing] Retrieved September 5, 2008, from Virtual Jamestown, Virginia Center for Digital History, University of Virginia.

Moll, Herman. (1720). A New Map of the North Parts of America Claimed by France... (1720) [Map], Includes notes and illustration of "The Indian Fort Sasquesahanok." Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division: Washington D.C.

Secondary Sources

Green, Edwin. The Indians of South Carolina, Columbia, SC: The State Company Press, 1920.

Kephart, Horace. The Cherokees of the Smoky Mountains. Silver Springs, MD: Westland Printing Co., 1936.


Lesson Plans

Day 1

  1. Discuss with students teacher made PowerPoint: Southeastern Native Americans.
  2. Show students digital images from Museum: artifacts from the Southeastern region, see Florence Museum Artifacts Images.
  3. Allow students to discuss these objects in partners. Students should study the picture and try to identify how the Native Americans in the Southeastern region used these tools. They should also discuss how the Native Americans made these tools. Finally, they should discuss how these tools used in their daily lives show a connection to their environment.
  4. Share ideas as a whole group.

Day 2

  1. Review PowerPoint: Southeastern Native Americans.
  2. Give Primary source questioning sheet.
  3. Go over questions with students.
  4. Put students into 8 groups (3 in each) to rotate to primary source centers.
  5. Students will analyze the sources by answering the Primary source questioning sheet.
  6. When finished, go over questions.
  7. Students will draw a picture of a Native American Village that describes their environment, culture, and everyday life.
  8. Share pictures.

Day 3

  1. Review PowerPoint: Southeastern Native Americans and sources from previous lessons.
  2. Students will use primary and secondary sources to create a Southeastern Native Americans Info Book about the Southeastern Native Americans that describes their everyday life, culture, and environment.  
  3. Share student-made books.


Teacher Reflections

Improvement on Teaching

Teaching American History in South Carolina (TAHSC) was a very beneficial experience to the teaching of American History in my classroom. I was able to improve on my teaching as a result of this program. One aspect of the program that allowed me to improve my teaching was the historical content session. TAHSC provided a session for learning the content of the years in history that I teach. For example, the class taught historical information about the topic of the American Revolution. In my regular classroom, I have to teach the American Revolution to a group of fourth grade students. The information that I learned from the TAHSC content sessions about the American Revolution, and other topics in American history, has given me more background knowledge to help my students learn. I feel that when I have a better understanding of a topic and the details of that topic, I am more capable of teaching the information correctly. In the past, there had been times in my regular classroom where my students asked me questions about parts of history that I had to research in order to understand the topic better and answer the questions. I now feel that I have an enhanced understanding of American history and I feel more comfortable with teaching American History.

Another aspect of the program that allowed me to improve my teaching of American History was the method instruction with the master teacher. This part of the session was very useful in my regular classroom with my students. I have been able to use the many teaching ideas and strategies in my classroom with my students. This has allowed me to use a more hands-on approach to teaching American History to my students. I have learned ways to use primary sources when I teach history to my students. The use of primary sources has elicited higher order thinking in my classroom and therefore, a better understanding of the content I am teaching. I have found that my students enjoy social studies more when I incorporate primary sources and the activities I learned in the methods section. I have taught lessons to my students that have not used primary sources and my students have asked me to bring the primary sources back. They enjoy analyzing primary sources and creating products with the information they gain more than they like working with workbook pages or textbooks. The TAHSC program has opened my eyes to a more hands-on, engaging approach to teaching social studies. When teaching social studies in this manner, students enjoy the content more and I enjoy teaching it more because of the active engagement that it provides.

The final aspect of the TAHSC program that has improved my teaching is the work with cultural institutions. The partnerships with cultural institutions have given me ideas for where to take field trips with my students. We have not been able to take a field trip yet this school year, but I am planning to go on a field trip later this year. I am currently trying to plan a field trip to one of the institutions that we attended in the institution. The institutions that we attended would all compliment my classroom instruction, but I am thinking about attending a field trip that can help my students understand some of the aspects of slavery better. TAHSC has also shown me how to work with institutions like the ones we visited to enhance my instruction. I do not always have to use these places as field trips, but they are also sources of information. I have learned that there are many institutions that are willing to help educators when they are teaching history. These institutions are willing to help by supplying a great amount of information that is coincides with the content in American History. Many institutions have been willing to send information to me in my classroom that I can use with my students. Also, some of the institutions have people who are willing to come to classrooms and talk with students. In all of these ways, I have realized the benefits of having a partnership with cultural institutions in the community and am excited to continue working with cultural institutions in the future.

Effective Instruction

There are many ways in which effectiveness of instruction is shown through student work. One example of student work that shows the effectiveness of instruction is the answers to questions when students are analyzing primary sources. When students are given questions to answer while analyzing primary sources, it is evident that the instruction was effective when students are able to draw appropriate conclusions about primary sources. When students correctly analyze a primary source, they will gain more information on the content and find more success in that area of American History. When students find success in content areas, it is a way to show the effectiveness of instruction. The lesson that I taught for TAHSC was about the culture of the Southeastern Native Americans. I started the three day lesson out by teaching students information about the culture of the Southeastern Native Americans. On the second day, I had students analyzing drawings from the time period that I had to teach them about, and while analyzing these sources they had to answer questions. After discussing the answers to the questions, I found that my students developed a deep understanding of the Southeastern Native Americans. My students were able to answer almost any question I had for them about the Southeastern Native Americans as a result of this use of primary sources. When primary sources are used properly in the classroom, students have a better chance of finding success in history and showing the effectiveness of instruction.

Future Growth

The TAHSC program has allowed me to regain my excitement for teaching American History in my classroom. I learned a vast amount of information in this program and have enjoyed using all that I have learned in my regular classroom. In order to continue this excitement, I feel that I need to actively work towards learning more about teaching social studies. In the future I plan to continue working with cultural institutions to enhance my teaching in the classroom and the learning that my students obtain. I also plan to look for other cultural institutions that I can partner with. I now see the benefits of working with outside sources to help enhance my classroom instruction. Another way I plan to continue learning about teaching social studies is to continue to research primary sources. If I continue to research to find more primary sources to use when teaching, I will have a large repertoire of information to use in the classroom. This will not only enhance my content knowledge, but it will provide more hands-on activities for my students. Finally, I plan to take more workshops on teaching social studies. Attending workshops on teaching social studies will ensure that I am able to teach in the most effective ways possible for my students. I feel that this workshop was able to enhance my instruction of American History and I feel that I am a more competent teacher as a result of this program. If I continue to try to attend workshops and information sessions on teaching American History, I believe I will become a more effective teacher in the classroom.


Student Assessment

Students will be given a grade on their Native American Village pictures, Primary source questioning sheets, and Southeastern Native Americans Info Books.

Examples of Students Work


Rachael Coates
Florence, South Carolina