Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Chapter 5 - Beaver, Bison, and Black Robes: Montana's Fur Trade, 1800-1860

Educator Resources

Educational Trunks


  • 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

  • Crossing Boundaries: The Story of Sophie Morigeau, by Salish Kootenai College - 27 minutes. Available through SKC Media (call 406-275-4879 or email

  • In the Spirit of Atatice, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, 29 minutes

Possible Fieldtrips: View the Map

Alignment to ELA Common Core Standards

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

Tests and Answer Keys

Free Trapper
Detail, Free Trappers, 1911, C. M. Russell, Montana Historical Society Museum
Buffalo Bones
Buffalo Bones along the Northern Pacific, photo by Charles Spencer Francis, illustration from Sport Among the Rockies: The Record of a Fishing and Hunting Trip in North-Western Montana (Troy, NY, 1889), p. 13 Montana Historical Society Photo Archives 945-968