Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans

All of our lesson plans align to both Montana State Social Studies and English Language Art Standards, so they can all be considered interdisciplinary. However, the lesson plans below are particularly noteworthy for crossing disciplinary boundaries.

In addition to the lessons listed below, see our Teaching with Primary Sources page for more lessons that require students to practice close reading and media literacy.

Integrating Art and History

Discover lesson plans on Montana's Cowboy Artist Charlie Russell, Plains Indian pictographic art, and a Reader’s Theater lesson plan that asks students to interpret and perform Letters Home from Montanans at War.

Integrating Science and History

Making an Atlatl (Designed for grades 4-8, adaptable to high school) 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’s State Flower: A Lesson in Civic Engagement (Designed for 4th-7th). This seven-period unit introduces students to the electoral process while providing an opportunity to develop research skills, learn about Montana wildflowers, and explore historical newspapers. By organizing an election for class flower, students will learn about the electoral process and experience civic engagement first hand while practicing such Common Core skills as close reading of complex texts and persuasive writing.

Integrating Math and History

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.

Montana: Stories of the Land Worksheets: We’ve created two worksheets to accompany each chapter of our middle-school textbook, Montana: Stories of the Land. The following worksheets apply math skills:

Integrating History and Creative Writing

Montana and the "Great War" Lesson Plan (Designed for 5-8, but adaptable to high school). After exploring the Story Maps to learn more about individuals' experiences during World War I, students will write a piece of historical fiction (a letter or journal entry) from the perspective of a Montanan--on the home front or serving in the armed forces--during the period.

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.

"Poems for Two Voices" (Designed for grades seven through twelve) After analyzing Plenty Coups' and Sitting Bull's rhetoric, student pairs will write a poem for two voices, comparing and contrasting the tribal leaders' perspectives, gaining a better understanding of Essential Understanding regarding Montana Indians #1: "There is great diversity among the twelve tribal nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments."

Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan Study Guide, particularly Lesson 2: Creation of Reader’s Theater (Designed for students 6-10). This study guide includes lesson plans, vocabulary, chapter summaries and questions, alignment to the Common Core, and other information to facilitate classroom use of Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, as told to Margaret Ronan, edited by Ellen Baumler. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, this highly readable 222-page memoir details Mary Sheehan Ronan’s journey across the Great Plains, her childhood on the Colorado and Montana mining frontiers, her ascent to young womanhood in Southern California, her return to Montana as a young bride, and her life on the Flathead Indian Reservation as the wife of an Indian agent. Book One, which provides a child’s-eye view of the mining frontier, is available to download as a PDF. Classroom sets of Girl from the Gulches can be purchased from the Montana Historical Society Museum Store by calling toll free 1-800-243-9900.

Easily adapted to distance learning, Do You Want to Be a Cowboy/Girl? asks students to conduct guided research of primary and secondary sources to decide if they would like to have been working cowboys or cowgirls on the open range.