Native American Rain Dance Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is the significance of a Native American rain dance? This lesson plan explains this with the help of an interesting text lesson. An activity gets students out of their seats and into the Native American spirit.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline the history and significance of the Native American rain dance
  • list key elements of the Native American rain dance
  • analyze the significance of Native American costumes


1.5 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.



  • Begin by playing the video clip of the Native American rain dance for the class.
    • What type of ceremony is shown in this video?
    • What might the ceremony symbolize?
    • What can you tell about the people who are performing the dance?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson now, one copy per student.
  • Instruct the students to read the introduction, 'Water Is a Resource and a Blessing' and 'History' sections of the text lesson now.
    • Did you notice any patterns in the sounds and movements portrayed in the video?
    • What could be the significance of the outfits worn by the dancers?
    • Who are the dancers trying to communicate with?
    • What is the mood and tone of the dance?
  • Tell the class to read the remainder of the text lesson now.
  • Review key facts about Native American rain dances for the class now.
  • Pass out the worksheet and have students work independently to complete it.
  • Review the worksheet with the class, fully addressing each question and answer, allowing students the chance to correct any mistakes they may have made when completing it.

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