Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Chapter 2 - People of the Dog Days

Educator Resources

Educational Trunks

  • Stones and Bones: Prehistoric Tools from Montana’s Past from the Montana Historical Society. This trunk looks at the earliest evidence of Montana's human history through a study of casts and reproduction stone and bone tools from the Anzick collection found in Wilsall, Montana.

  • Prehistoric Life in Montana from the Montana Historical Society. This trunk focuses on Pictograph Cave to explore what life was like in Montana 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.


  • 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

  • Making an Atlatl provides detailed instructions on how students can make atlatls and darts while learning more about the physics behind this ancient technology and the tremendous skill it took to hunt large games in the pre-contact era.

  • Montana Ancient Teachings: A Curriculum for Montana Archaeology and Prehistory offers an in-depth curriculum to introduce elementary and middle school students to the world of archaeology and to what archaeologists have learned about Montana prehistory through archaeology and related scientific disciplines.

  • Project Archaeology: Investigating the First Peoples, the Clovis Child Burial examines new findings about the Anzick site near Wilsall, the oldest documented archaeological site in North America. Designed for grades 8-12, the curriculum asks students to read current news reports, write an archaeology discovery report, debate the ethics of studying ancient human remains, write a persuasive essay and join students from across the nation in creating memorials to the Clovis Child.

  • The Montana Historical Society has created a lesson plan, "What They Left Behind," to accompany this PowerPoint presentation on the various types of archaeological sites found in Montana.

  • "Native American Trade Routes and the Barter Economy" includes two learning activities designed for use in grades seven through nine, Activity One, "Resources and Routes," focuses primarily on mapping pre-contact trade routes, with a special emphasis on Montana. Activity Two, "Trading Times," asks students to simulate the process through which various products from different regional tribes were bartered and disseminated to gain a better understanding of pre-contact barter economy and how it compares with the modern-day cash economy.

  • The National Park Service Archeology Program is a one-stop-shop for teachers seeking online activities for kids, lesson plans, informational resources, and links to other sites.

  • Salmon Lake State Park created "Ancient Highways-Native Byways," a lesson plan on early transportation corridors.

  • Find origin stories for many Montana tribes in Chapter 1 of Montana Tribal Histories: Educator Resource Guide, developed by Julie Cajune and published by the Indian Education Division of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Videos or DVDs

Possible Fieldtrips: View the Map

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

Alignment to ELA Common Core

Tests and Answer Keys

Crazy Mountains
Crazy Mountains as viewed above Lennep, MT, photo by Donnie Sexton, Travel Montana
Ice Age People
Ice Age people, courtesy Montana Department of Transportation
Camas Gathering
Detail, Camas Gathering, Gary Schildt, Montana Historical Society Museum
Warrior Pictograph
Warrior with bow and arrow from Pictograph Cave, courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and MSU COT
Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis at Pictograph Cave, photo by Bill Browne, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives PAc 90-96 Sheet 1, #7