The retreat of glaciers and the original people of the Great Lakes

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1 Subject/target grade: Grade 9-12 Local History, Ecology, or Earth/Environmental Science classes Duration: Four 50-minute class periods; one optional half-day field activity Setting: Classroom Materials and Equipment Needed: Computers with Microsoft PowerPoint, internet access, audio, and projector Learning Objectives: Describe the effects of glaciers on the Great Lakes environment Explain the migration of early humans to the Great Lakes area Describe the key features of the three historical periods over the last 12,000 years (Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland) Discuss relationships between the Anishinaabe culture and the Great Lakes environment Lesson Overview This lesson broadly combines the climatic, geological, ecological, and paleontological factors that predated settlement by European explorers in the Great Lakes region. Students gain an overview of the impacts of glaciers on the natural surroundings we see today, including the region s forests, wetlands, and geological features. This insight is combined with an overview of the migration of the first humans into the area, and the characteristics of the three historical periods prior to European exploration. This lesson serves as a valuable preview of Lesson 2, European Settlement and Native Cultures. The retreat of glaciers and the original people of the Great Lakes Lesson Sequence Day 1: Film, How the Earth was Made Great Lakes Day 2: PowerPoint presentation Day 3: PowerPoint presentation Day 4: Timeline exercise, lesson wrap-up, assessment Lesson Core The Guiding Question: What environmental and human events predated the settlement of Europeans into the Great Lakes region? Safety precautions: None. Advanced Preparation: Preview the film. Prepare additional worksheets for students to guide their learning throughout the PowerPoints and the film. Visit the links included throughout this lesson to find suitable additional resources. Background Information for Teachers: When describing histories of Native American cultures, explanations offered by modern paleontologists or historians often do not agree with the oral legends of the native cultures. To avoid possible student misconceptions, the teacher should indicated that evidence stated by scientists is not meant to discredit the significance of oral traditions or stories. Also, when describing timeframes of paleo-climatic events such as glaciers, teacher may need to describe the methods used to substantiate estimations of the timing of events. Issues such as these should be addressed at the beginning of this lesson to avoid potential confusion among students and to avoid the perception of cultural insensitivity. 1

2 Michigan Content Expectations: Biology B3.4B Recognize and describe that a great diversity of species increases the chance that at least some living organisms will survive in the face of cataclysmic changes in the environment. B3.4C Examine the negative impact of human activities. Earth Science E4.p1B Analyze the flow of water between the elements of a watershed, including surface features (lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands) and groundwater E4.p3A Describe how glaciers have affected the Michigan landscape and how the resulting landforms impact our state economy E4.p3B Explain what happens to the lithosphere when an ice sheet is removed E4.p3C Explain the formation of the Great Lakes E5.3D Describe how index fossils can be used to determine time sequence E5.4f Describe geologic evidence that implies climates were significantly colder at times in the geologic record (e.g., geomorphology, striations, and fossils) Social Studies Describe the diverse characteristics of early American civilizations and societies in North, Central, and South America by comparing and contrasting the major aspects (government, religion, interactions with the environment, economy, and social life) of American Indian civilizations and societies such as the Maya, Aztec, Inca, Pueblo, and/or Eastern Woodland peoples Important Terms: Glacial features (kettle lakes, morraines, erratics, land bridge) Paleo-Indian period Archaic Period Woodland Period Anishinaabe society Film: How the Earth was Made Great Lakes (Day 1) Engage: Begin by polling students with several questions to assess their knowledge with the geological events that resulted in the Great Lakes environment we see today. Probe with follow-up questions as necessary. Suitable questions include: How did the Great Lakes originate? How has the region s climate changed over time? When was the last glacial period? Has anyone ever observed evidence of glacial activities in the area? Commence with the presentation of the film, How the Earth Was Made Great Lakes. Teacher may wish to create a worksheet for students to complete as the view the film, pausing as necessary to give students time to write their responses to worksheet questions. Questions should focus on the timeline of geologic events that resulted in the water features we see today as well as the development of forests, wetlands, and other natural features that developed in the area over the last several thousand years. After watching the film, the students should gain a helpful preview of the key points explored in Day 1 of the PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint Lessons (Days 2-3) Engage: Review topics from previous day s lesson on the glacial periods and the origins of the current Great Lakes environment. Teacher may also preview connections between the glacial periods and the migration of humans into the Great Lakes region. Probe with followup questions as necessary. Suitable questions include: How did people first arrive at the Great Lakes area? 2

3 What was the regional environment like at different times in the past? Who lived here before European settlement? What were these cultures like? Commence with the presentation of the PowerPoint and encourage students to ask questions and take notes throughout. Additional questions to prompt discussion could include: What do you think the various tools from each historical period were used for? Why was agriculture more common in the southern region than in the northern region? How did water dictate the lifestyles of the Native Americans? Building on prior knowledge: This lesson draws on material that may have been included in previous earth science and history classes. Much of the material describing the ancient peoples of the Great Lakes, however, may be completely new. Draw upon any previous lessons related to the important terms listed above. Review as necessary and introduce any terms unfamiliar to students. Pre-teaching: None. Additional activities: Visit the websites listed below for additional lesson ideas. Many segments from these pages may be ideal to print as reading handouts for students, or to include as required background readings to have students summarize 1. Great Lakes Information Network s (GLIN) Native People of the Region website: html. 2. Native American Nation s History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan website: ewa/. 3. Native Americans in the Great Lakes Region: eo-indian.html. Whether relying mostly on film clips, web links, or PowerPoint, teacher should prepare a worksheet to guide student learning. A sample worksheet ( Timeline exercise ) is provided at the end of this lesson. For more lesson ideas, see the Lesson Extension section at the end of this lesson. Explore: If the teacher wishes to incorporate the optional field activity, students can be taken to local sites showing evidence of glacial activity (morraines, kettle lakes, erratics, scouring of rocks from glacial movements, and so forth). Across the state of Michigan, there are numerous sites to observe these phenomena. Otherwise, students can conduct internet searches of images of these features. Explain: Teacher should emphasize that, as described earlier, modern scientific accounts of the migrations of native peoples may differ from traditional stories that are considered sacred to indigenous groups. Students could be asked to provide analogies to these conflicting accounts in terms they are likely more familiar with, such as Biblical versus geological accounts of the how the earth was created. Elaborate: The teacher must make the connection between the retreat of the glaciers, the features we see on the landscape today, and the settlement by early humans into the Great Lakes region. For instance, explain that as glaciers retreated, forests developed and wildlife came to the area. In 3

4 turn, native peoples were drawn to the region largely because of the abundant natural resources in the area. Early human civilizations in the Great Lakes prospered directly because they were well-adapted to the natural features of the area. Descendants of these early peoples are still plentiful across much of the region (a fact that students may take for granted). Geologically and culturally, much of the modern Michigan environment owes its origins to the incredible glacial activity that occurred thousands of years ago. This lesson also sets the stage for lesson 2, European Settlement and Native Cultures, as the PowerPoint slides describing historical Anishinaabe lifestyles are intended to preview conflicts of environmental values between these people and the Europeans who soon came to the area. Wrap-up Classroom Lesson At the conclusion of the PowerPoint, students should work in small groups to complete the attached Timeline Exercise. Teacher could ask students to compare Anishinaabe environmental values to those common of today s Euro-American cultures. These discussions would serve as valuable previews to the ensuing Lesson 2. An optional quiz on the lesson s materials could also be accommodated on this day. Lesson closure: Teacher can ask students to share how their perspectives of Michigan s history have been expanded from this lesson. A key goal of this lesson is to link the climatic, geological, ecological, and paleontological factors that predated settlement by European explorers in the Great Lakes region. This information, if included at all in other activities, is likely scattered across several courses. This lesson should help students connect these topics, and the effectiveness of student learning can be assessed with the lesson wrap-up quiz (sample provided). Lesson Extension Develop lesson involving field trip(s) to local sites featuring evidence of glacial activities Bring in guest speaker from local Native American community to give presentation on the early history of Great Lakes native cultures Additional Resources: In Michigan s western Upper Peninsula, the Ojibwa tribe located in Baraga (also known as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community) has numerous resources to potentially enhance this lesson, including cultural consultants, linguists, and artists. The tribe also has a library featuring a wealth of print and video resources on Native American cultural topics. For information, visit the KBIC website at Evaluate: Three evaluation items can be included in this lesson unit: 1. A worksheet on the film, PowerPoint, or optional readings that accompanied the lesson (see sample). 2. Completion of the Timeline Exercise. 3. An optional quiz after all lessons have been completed, encompassing the central points of the lesson (see sample). 4

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6 The retreat of glaciers and the original people of the Great Lakes Name PowerPoint worksheet 1. Approximately when did the glaciers from the last ice age retreat from the Great Lakes? 2. Name and describe two geologic features left by the retreating glaciers. 3. How did human likely arrive in the Great Lakes area, and where did they come from? 4. What ecological changes followed the retreat of the glaciers in the Great Lakes area? 5. Name and describe three technological improvements that happened during the Archaic Period. 2

7 6. What advancement during the Woodland Period changed the diets of many early inhabitants of the Great Lakes area? 7. Where did the Anishinaabe people likely migrate from? 8. What types of lodges did Anishinaabe people traditionally live in? 9. Describe how Anishinaabe people traveled in the waters of the region. 10. Describe how the diets and home locations of Anishinaabe communities often varied with the changing seasons. 3

8 The retreat of glaciers and the original people of the Great Lakes Name Wrap-up quiz Instructions: On a separate sheet of paper, write a short reflective essay to answer each of the following questions from this lesson. 1. Describe how glaciers created the landscape features we see in the Great Lakes region today. Include descriptions of water features as well as geologic features. 2. Describe the relationship between glacial periods and human migrations across the globe. What allowed humans to arrive in North America during this period? 3. Summarize the three historic periods described in this lesson (Paleo-Indian, Archaic, and Woodland), and describe technological advances of each period. 4. Describe relationships between traditional Anishinaabe cultures and their environment. 4

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