Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Museum and research center closed for renovations. For more info, call (406) 444-2694.

Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Chapter 1 - Montana: Where the Land Writes History

Educator Resources

Note: This would be a good chapter to use for a multidisciplinary unit with science. It is also a good chapter to "make local." Roadside Geology of Montana, by David Alt and Donald Hyndman (Missoula: Mountain Press, 1986) is an excellent resource for studying the geology of your area.

Educational Trunks

  • Montana State Symbols from the Montana Historical Society. This footlocker provides students the opportunity to view our state's symbols and their meanings through objects and activities.

  • Paleontology Trunks from the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman. These educational trunks contains real dinosaur fossils, lesson plans, resource books, videos and posters. Trunks on other topics are also available.


Inspired by reading specialist Tammy Elser, who was in turn inspired by SKC graduate Taylor Crawford, we've created a "Takeaway" bookmark for every chapter of Montana: Stories of the Land. Before starting a chapter, print and cut out these bookmarks and distribute them to your students. Ask them to use the Takeaway to summarize the GIST of what they learn from reading assigned sections of the chapter. Remind them that they don't have much room, so they'll need to think before they write down the most important idea they want to take away from the section. Learn a little more about the GIST strategy.

Even though we've created Takeaways for every chapter, we don't recommend you have your students complete a Takeaway for every section of every chapter they read. That would be exceedingly tedious. However, used appropriately, they can be a useful tool for encouraging reflection and teaching students how to summarize information.

Websites and Online Lesson Plans

Videos or DVDs

Possible Fieldtrips: View the Map

Alignment to Common Core ELA Standards

Alignment to Content Standards and Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians (EU)

Tests and Answer Keys

Crazy Mountains
Crazy Mountains as viewed above Lennep, MT, photo by Donnie Sexton, Travel Montana
Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service
Beargrass, photo by Donnie Sexton, Travel Montana