Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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Lesson Plans for Teaching Civics and Montana Geography

New! The Montana 1972 Constitutional Convention (Designed for grades 11-12) This intensive dive into Montana’s constitutional convention asks students to analyze and compare the preambles of both the 1889 and 1972 Montana Constitutions before exploring how the 1972 constitution came to be, researching some of the major people and events of the 1972 Constitutional Convention, and presenting their findings in a digital “yearbook.” While the full lesson takes eight to eleven 50-minute class periods, parts can be used independently.

New! Montana Today: A Geographical Study (Designed for grades 4-6, but easily adaptable for higher grades). In this unit, students will investigate how climate, geology, and geography affect the lives of Montanans. In Part 1, they will construct population maps and look for patterns. In Part 2 they will read about Montana’s three regions. In Part 3 they will learn about Montana’s reservations and tribal nations. In Part 4, they will plan a route across the state, learning about the places they choose to stop as they go while improving map-reading skills. In Part 5 they will tie what they learned together to answer the unit’s guiding questions. An upper grade (grades 6-8) version of Part 1 is now available. A Google Docs version of the upper grade worksheets is also available.

Montana Women's Legal History Lesson Plan. (Designed for grades 11-12). In this 1-2 period activity, students will examine sample Montana legislation from 1871 to 1991 that particularly affected women's lives to explore the impact laws have on the lives of ordinary people and why laws change.

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.

Hazel Hunkins, Billings Suffragist: A Primary Source Investigation (Designed for grades 7-12) In this lesson, student historians will analyze photos, letters, newspaper articles, and other sources to learn more about the suffrage movement as experienced by Billings, Montana, native and National Woman's Party activist Hazel Hunkins.

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.

"Mining Sacred Ground: Environment, Culture, and Economic Development on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation" (Designed for grades 7-12) This learning activity familiarizes students with an important and contentious issue now facing Montana's native peoples: whether or not to develop their reservation's coal and coal-bed methane resources. Recommended for use in grades seven through twelve, this activity challenges students to better appreciate the complexities of promoting resource-based economic development when such action conflicts with traditional cultural values.

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 and to 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.

Resources for Teaching about the Montana Constitution. For the fiftieth anniversary of Montana’s 1972 constitution, we put together a list of resources for teaching about this foundational document. These include videos, lesson plans, readings, and a link to the document itself.