Native American Migration Routes Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

The migration of people into the Americas is explored through this lesson plan. Activities include a comparison of each accepted theory of migration, focusing on evidence that supports or refutes each theory.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify accepted North American migration theories
  • explain the evidence that supports each theory
  • explain the evidence that refutes each theory
  • define Clovis and pre-Clovis in terms of American migration


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board
  • chart paper
  • comparison chart (prepared before the lesson begins)
  • Native American Migration to America: History, Theories & Routes Quiz (1 per student)
  • Article, 'Ancient Migration Patterns to North America Are Hidden in Languages Spoken Today' (available free online from Smithsonian), 1 per student
  • 1 highlighter per student


  • Before beginning this lesson, ask students where the first people to settle in the Americas came from. Write their answers on a chart to show their original responses to this question. Put the chart aside until the end of the lesson.
  • Create a comparison chart that will be filled out during the lesson discussion. It should be similar to the chart shown with this plan.

Use a comparison chart to compare evidence for each theory.

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