Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

Montana: Stories of the Land

Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide

Chapter 22 - Living in a New Montana, 1970-2007

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

  • Looking to introduce your students to the legislative process? Download the "Guide to the Montana Legislature," a booklet for anyone wanting basic information about the way the Montana Legislature works and how best to get involved in the legislative process. The guide is also available in booklet form from the Legislative Information Office, 406-444-2957.

  • "Mining Sacred Ground: Environment, Culture, and Economic Development on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation" is a learning activity designed to familiarize students with an important and contentious issue now facing Montana's native peoples: whether or not to develop their reservation's coal and coalbed methane resources. The goal of this activity is to challenge youngsters to better appreciate the complexities of promoting resource-based economic development when such action conflicts with traditional cultural values. By the end of the exercise, students should also understand that tribal members differ in their attitudes toward resource extraction. This dovetails nicely with Essential Understanding 1: there is "great diversity among individual American Indians."

  • Mountain West News provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the mountain West.

  • The Working Group has created resources to accompany their video, Not in Our Town, about Billings residents' stand against racial and religious intolerance.

  • Paper Candles: How Courage and Goodness Triumphed in an American Town is a play based on the story of Billings, Montana, written for elementary, middle and high school students.

  • Butte’s Industrial Landscape is a PowerPoint and script created by Fred Quivik, Professor Emeritus of History, at Michigan Technological University. Originally presented as part of the NEH-funded workshop, "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West, 1860-1920," the PowerPoint examines industrial mining's social and environmental impacts, and can be adapted for classroom use, particularly in the upper grades.

  • Montana The Magazine of Western History created a discussion guide for "Remaking the Wide-Open Town: Butte at the End of the Twentieth Century," by Brian Shovers, an article published in the Autumn 1998 issue. The article's full text (but not the pictures) is posted online.

  • NOVA created the classroom activity "Where Growth Meets Growth," about the wildland-urban interface. The activity accompanies its film Fire Wars, which focuses on the 2000 fire.

  • The Indian Education Division of OPI has many model lesson plans relevant to this chapter including ones on the structure of tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and language preservation.

  • Find clips from the documentary "Keeping the Barn," which features Montana families sharing the stories of the historic barns on their properties, and the importance of barns today, along with support material for using these clips in your classroom at MontanaPBS Learning Media.

  • The Indian Land Tenure Foundation has excellent information on allotment and its consequences, including free lesson plans.

  • The Montana Arts Council offers resources for incorporating folklife in the classroom.

  • The Montana Climate Assessment website has short videos and other accessible material on how climate change is affecting Montana and what Montanans are doing to meet new challenges brought about by climate change.

Videos or DVDs

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

Spurs, photo by Alexandra Swaney, courtesy Montana Arts Council
Fox Sculpture
Kit Fox, sculpture by Jay Laber, Montana Historical Society Museum
Eva Boyd
Eva Boyd, basket maker, photo by Alexandra Swaney, courtesy Montana Arts Council
Vermiculite Miner
Vermiculite Zonolite Company (W. R. Grace) employee, Libby, photo by Bill Browning, Helena, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives PAc 2002-62.I2B-10865
Spurs, photo by Alexandra Swaney, courtesy Montana Arts Council