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Smithsonian in Your Classroom: Native American Dolls

Developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, this lesson plan presents the firsthand perspectives of five Native American doll makers from around the United States. Students examine full–color images of dolls from the museum's collection in order to learn more about the diverse cultures, communities, and environments the dolls represent.

Resource Information

grades   K 1 2 3 4
Inupiat, Navajo, Ojibwe, Seminole, Seneca
English Language Arts, Geography, History, Social Studies
Arctic/Subarctic, Eastern Woodlands, Great Lakes, North America, Southeast, Southwest
clothing, dolls, doll making, environment
Essential Understandings More Close

2: Time, Continuity, and Change
Indigenous people of the Americas shaped life in the Western Hemisphere for millennia. After contact, American Indians and the events involving them greatly influenced the histories of the European colonies and the modern nations of North, Central, and South America. Today, this influence continues to play significant roles in many aspects of political, legal, cultural, environmental, and economic issues. To understand the history and cultures of the Americas requires understanding American Indian history from Indian perspectives.

3: People, Places, and Environments
For thousands of years, indigenous people have studied, managed, honored, and thrived in their homelands. These foundations continue to influence American Indian relationships and interactions with the land today.

4: Individual Development and Identity
American Indian individual development and identity is tied to culture and the forces that have influenced and changed culture over time. Unique social structures, such as clan systems, rites of passage, and protocols for nurturing and developing individual roles in tribal society, characterize each American Indian culture. American Indian cultures have always been dynamic and adaptive in response to interactions with others.


Academic Standards More Close

Common Core State Standards

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (High School)–National Council for the Social Studies

II. Time, Continuity, and Change.
Processes–Identify examples of both continuity and change, as depicted in stories, photographs, and documents.

III. People, Places, and Environments.
Knowledge–The theme of people, places, and environments involves the study of location, place, and the interactions of people with their surroundings.

IV. Individual Development and Identity.
Knowledge–People's interactions with their social and physical surrounds influence individual identity and growth.

College, Career, & Civic Life–C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.

Compare life in specific historical time periods to life today.