Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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

Elementary School Resources

The following resources were created especially for use in the elementary classroom.

Montana: A History of Our Home front cover

Montana: A History of our Home

The Montana: A History of Our Home is a comprehensive curriculum, which includes a student textbook and hands-on, interactive lesson plans. Designed for grades fourth through sixth, the curriculum contains six distinct, interdisciplinary units that focus on Montana geography, government, and history from 12,500 years ago to the present. Find the online companion website here and the online teachers guide here.

Hands on History

Hands-On History Footlockers  (Designed for grade 4 but used by teachers kindergarten through twelfth grade) Bring reproductions of clothing, tools, everyday objects, maps, photographs, documents to your classroom. User Guides with lesson plans and standards alignment accompany each footlocker.

Interdisciplinary Lessons

The Art of Storytelling: Plains Indian Perspectives (Graded lessons, K-3 and 4-6). These materials are designed to provide you and your students with an exciting way to incorporate Indian Education for All into your art curriculum. The material includes grade-appropriate lesson plans which are aligned with the Essential Understandings and the Montana Art Content Standards; and two PowerPoint presentations, one focused on winter counts and ledger art.

Montana’s Charlie Russell (Designed for grades 1-5) The Montana Historical Society boasts one of the best collections of Charles M. Russell art in the world. We invite you to bring your class to tour Russell’s masterpieces in person—but if you can’t come to Helena, we’re happy to help you bring the Cowboy Artist to your classroom with lessons aligned to the Montana Common Core, Art and Social Studies Standards, a biographical PowerPoint, and images of sixteen Russell paintings, letters, and sculptures.

Women and Sports: Tracking Change Over Time (Designed for grades 4-8) In this lesson aligned to both Common Core ELA and Math standards, students learn about how Title IX (a federal civil rights law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in education) changed girls’ opportunities to participate in school sports by collecting and analyzing the data to look at change in women’s sports participation over time.

Educator Favorites

Mapping Montana, A to Z, Lesson Plan (Designed for grades 4-8). Help your students expand their knowledge of Montana’s geography and Montana places and improve their map-reading skills with this engaging, interactive lesson.

Women at Work Lesson Plan: Clothesline Timeline (Appropriate for grades 4-12). This primary-source based lesson asks students to analyze historic photographs to draw conclusions about women and work from the 1870s through the 2010s. Students will discover that Montana women have always worked, but that discrimination, cultural expectations, and changing technology have influenced the types of work women undertook.

PowerPoint Lesson Plans

A Beautiful Tradition: Ingenuity and Adaptation in a Century of Plateau Women's Art (Designed for grades 4-5) These materials are designed to provide you and your students with an exciting way to study this colorful art form while incorporating Indian Education for All in your classroom.

Montana’s Twentieth-Century Immigrants: Mexicans, Hutterites, and Hmong (grades 4-6, designed for use with the Coming to Montana: Immigrants from around the World Footlocker)

Virtual Tour: Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark (Designed for grades 4-8) Based on an interactive tour given at the Montana Historical Society Museum, this virtual tour uses PowerPoints to bring the exhibit into your classroom. Also included in this lesson plan are post-tour lessons and discussion questions. If you are able to bring your class to the exhibit, you can find pre and post-tour lessons as well as a preview of the tour here.

"What Would You Bring?" Emigrant Families on Montana's Gold Rush Frontier (grades 3-8)

"Who Are the Métis?"(Designed for grades 3-6) This PowerPoint lesson plan introduces the Métis, an important Montana cultural group with roots in the fur trade.

Biographical Lesson Plans and Resources

Biographical Poems Celebrating Amazing Montana Women Lesson Plan (Designed for grades 4-6) This lesson asks students to research specific Montana women (by reading biographical essays) and to use the information they gather to create biographical poems. Through their research (and by hearing their classmates’ poems) they will recognize that there is no single “woman’s experience”; women’s lives are diverse and that people can make a difference in their communities.

Montana Biographies Here are links to online biographies of 48 Montanans, from Assiniboine/Gros Ventre educator and poet Minerva Allen. Businesswoman Sarah Bickford, copper king Marcus Daly, wilderness advocate Bob Marshall, physician Caroline McGill, decorated World War II veteran George Oiye and bronc rider Alice Orr to nun and advocate Sister Providencia Tolan, politician Burton K. Wheeler, and lawyer and Crow tribal chairman Robert Yellowtail. Designed particularly for use by 4th grade students for biography projects, each subject has links to two sources to facilitate meeting CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9: "Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably."