Here’s the third installment of your fellow teachers’ answers to the question: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson/project resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.”
Montana Place Names lesson plan (http://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/docs/PlaceNamesLessonPlans.pdf)
In Montana History (sophomores) we did gold panning. It was so extremely fun and the kids really got into it. I just picked up a bunch of sand at the home store and bought different size fishing weights and nuts. Each size had a different value when the "miners" brought their finds into the "assayer's" office. We learned the proper technique of placer mining and also learned the pitfalls and wins of gambling. We tried to make it a realistic mining town, hence, the entertainment offered was a little game of chance with the dice. One group won big, but the other 5 lost pretty much everything. Most of them learned that they would rather just work away at their claims rather than take the risk. We also learned it takes a long time to make a living, depending on the claim you have and how many other people have been there before you.
Code Talkers, by Joseph Bruchac (New York : Dial Books, 2005)
US History Students (gr10) choose one of MT's tribes to research, write a paper, and present a display board. They cover aspects of culture, spiritual, geography, government, legends, leaders, men's roles & women's roles, enemies.... Another great IEFA project was the Reader's Theater. "The Great Peace Council of 1855," prepared by Sally Thompson, Kim Lugthart, Margaret Scott.--Sheryl Burnham, Saco High School
Montana Mosaic DVD (http://mhs.mt.gov/Education/MontanaMosaic.aspx).
I'm in the resource business - so didn't actually 'teach" any lessons - but our library was very active in helping teachers and students locate resources. We had several events here over the years with IEFA - mostly lunch & learns that the library initiated that were supported by classroom teachers and well attended by students - We had Henry Real Bird, MT Poet Laureate here reading poetry and talking to kids, Crow tribal members showing students bead work and talking about beading (which resulted in a beading "crew" who now sew on graduation caps of graduating Seniors if they want...), we had a lunch & learn with panels from the Western Heritage Center that showed current Northern Cheyenne and Crow tribal members and had two of those members come and present.
I found that the Glacier/100 year celebration was a great learning experience, not only for the vast state history but also for the relationship to Montana Native Americans. [Editorial note: Those interesting in this may want to check out the Montana Historical Society’s hands-on history footlocker: http://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/docs/footlocker/GlacierFtLkrR5.pdf]
More favorites yet to come….