Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to do the following:
- find the meanings carves into totem poles
- describe the major features to be found on a totem pole
40 minutes plus 30 minutes for activity
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
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.
- Totem pole
- Heraldic columns
Printed copy of the text lesson
Ask students if they know about their great-grandparents. What about their great-great grandparents? How much do they know about their family history? How do they know it?
Read the lesson Native American Totem Poles: Definition & Styles with students, then discuss the following questions:
- What was the significance of the totem poles?
- How did the environment of the Pacific Northwest shape the style of totem poles?
- How was history and mythology mixed on the totem poles?
- Do you see some similarities with our own color-based symbolism when compared to those of the Pacific Northwest?
Have students draw their own totem poles, being sure to use at least one animal symbol and two color symbols. Have them write a paragraph explaining the symbolism behind their totem pole.
- What are some other ways that different cultures honored their family history?
- Compare and contrast totem poles with coats of arms from the European tradition.
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