K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Field Trip Ideas from Discover NC

Complement this semester-long unit with a field trip to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian the Cherokee County Historical Museum, or the Occaneechi Indian Village in Hillsborough.

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Related pages

  • North Carolina Cherokee Indians: The Trail of Tears: In this two week unit, students will study the Cherokee by participating in literature circles, learning about Native American story telling, writing a letter to Andrew Jackson to protest against the Creek War, and more.
  • Along the Trail of Tears: A part of history is often forgotten when teaching younger students. This is the relocation of the Cherokee Indians when the white settlers wanted their property. The US Government moved whole groups of Indians under harsh conditions. This trip became known as the Trail of Tears. Using this as a background students will explore and experiment with persuasive writing as they try to express the position of Cherokee leaders.
  • Women, then and now: In this lesson, students will analyze images and a home demonstration pamphlet, a Cooperative Extension Work document from the Green 'N' Growing collection at Special Collections Research Center at North Carolina State University Libraries. The primary sources will help students assess the roles, opportunities, and achievements of women beginning in 1950.

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Learning outcomes

  1. Students will research the history of the eight state-recognized tribes of North Carolina: the Cherokee, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony, and the Waccamaw Siouan Indian Tribes.
  2. Students will organize, verify, and edit their gathered facts into a comprehensive study of North Carolina Native Americans.
  3. Students will create an archeological introduction to their notebooks covering the Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian eras of Native Americans in North Carolina.
  4. Students will trace the history of events from 1585 through the present which will cover the adoption of new names of their assigned tribe using an outline format.
  5. Students will investigate and discuss cultural and religious beliefs before and after the Contact Period of their tribe.
  6. Students will research and evaluate the educational,economic, political gains, as well as any involvement in U.S. wars, and heroic achievements of their tribe.
  7. Students will investigate the historical prejudices and discrimination encountered by their tribe and also the contemporary issues their tribe still faces today.
  8. Students will describe and give examples of their tribe’s arts and crafts, folklore, and modern day powwows.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

Each Friday of 1 semester


  • Pen, notebook paper, notebook
  • Teacher-prepared rubric for each student
  • Suggested book resources (listed in the bibliography) available either in classroom or media center

Technology resources

computer lab with access to the internet and printers.


  1. Lecture on the Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian Cultures. Language families (Algonquin, Siouan, and Iroquios), Cultural Interactions (Explanation of artifacts found in unlikely places signifies trade among tribes), and early population statistics. This lecture should take one class period.
  2. At the next class meeting, begin lecture on the first contact period between Natives and European, effect of that contact (Columbian Exchange), and the Adaptations of the Natives. Lecture information is taken from text and gathered from other resources (listed in bibliography).
  3. Day Three will begin with passing out the rubric for their project and explanation of all requirements to completing their projects. Students will then work for the remainder of the day within their groups beginning the process of distributing the work load with each member having a clear responsibility. For example, one will work on introduction and another will have folklore. Each student must to be able to put his name on at least one section of the notebook.
  4. For the remainder of the semester each Friday will be dedicated to research, investigation, and compilation of information. Lectures throughout the semester will incorporate information from the bibliography. Students are responsible for retrieving information from their notes.


Each section of notebook will be edited according to the timeline of due dates listed on the rubric.

Presentation of end product and the notebook on assigned tribe will be assessed according to specifics listed in the rubric.

Supplemental information

Related websites

  • N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs. http://www.doa.state.nc.us/cia/indian.htm. This site provides information about each individual tribe along with email addresses to those tribes.
  • The Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov. This site again provides information on tribes.
  • Story-telling of the North Carolina Native Americans. http://www.ibiblio.org/storytelling/. Site offers information on Folklore.
  • Homepage of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. http://www.cherokee-nc.com/. Site offers information on Cherokee.
  • N.C. Museum of History. http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/nchh/amerindian.html#17th. Site offers assistance in creating historical timelines for tribes.
  • The Voice of the Occaneechi Nation provides history, current events, and information about the Occaneechi Homeland Project.

Many of these sites will offer links to other areas to retrieve information.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 11–12 — American Indian Studies

  • Goal 2: The learner will analyze the historical developments that characterize Native American life in the period prior to the Civil War.
    • Objective 2.03: Demonstrate an understanding of the impact on North Carolina tribes of the events of this period, such as the Tuscarora War and the disenfranchisement of the states' American Indians in 1835.
  • Goal 4: The learner will investigate the diversity of American Indian tribal cultures.
    • Objective 4.06: Describe the traditional and contemporary cultural characteristics of North Carolina tribes.
  • Goal 5: The learner will analyze contemporary issues that face American Indians.
    • Objective 5.05: Discuss the contemporary issues that affect North Carolina Indian tribes.