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Social Responsibilities Podcast

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Social Responsibilities Guidance Document

A couple of our goals here at Social Responsibilities is to help educators with implementing inquiry lessons that make use of high-quality instructional materials like the one discussed in this podcast, or similar lessons to use in your own classrooms. We also want to encourage teachers to work together as grade level or social studies disciplinary teams to take on a similar process used in the podcast.

So, what’s in this document?

  • The Why
  • Time Estimates
  • Gilder Lehrman Native American Policy Lesson Plan
  • Native American Policy Lesson Plan Template
  • Topics Related to Teaching Native American Policy
  • Team Discussion Questions
  • Helpful Links

The Why:

There are a couple of things that many of us have come to expect from social studies education. The first is promoting the rights, ideals, liberties, and principles that our country has come to value. The second is the high importance that we place on text and other instructional materials. This podcast seeks to serve as an opportunity for social studies educators to rediscover the importance of high-quality instructional materials (HQIM’s). We seek to help teachers envision a world in which they can properly identify and choose HQIMs rather than always making their own materials from scratch. We offer a look into how to curate and teach documents that embrace multicultural education and multiple perspectives. We hope that through this process, educators can start believing that HQIMs can be a lever for equity, and as inquiry gains popularity as an instructional method (as it should), our goal is to reiterate the framing and rationale for using high-quality instructional materials to deepen both students’ use of inquiry and use those skills closely associated with social studies like contextualization, corroboration, and understanding multiple perspectives.

Below, we provide suggestions on correlating topics and standards on which you may want to use to introduce and teach this lesson, how to frame it for students, estimates for how long it will take to prepare and teach this lesson, discussion questions for your team, and even a lesson plan template that you may modify to meet your district’s needs.

Time Estimates:

Based on block scheduling of class periods between 80 to 110 minutes and teaching as is, this can be taught in two (2) class periods. This does not account for providing background information and/or teaching related concepts.


Native American Policy (Provided by Gilder Lehrman)

This lesson was chosen because it encompasses each of the current shifts in Nebraska social studies education (inquiry-based learning, multicultural education, and civic education) and can be taught at multiple grade levels.

Lesson Plan Template:

Native American Policy 2-Day Lesson Plan Template

Related Topics and Standards:

Below you will find suggested topics and the correlating standards to use when teaching about Native American policy. The Nebraska State Social Studies Standards span civics, economics, geography, and history. Because this lesson deals specifically with Native American policy, we would like to emphasize the use of standards on multiple perspectives.  Also, while Gilder Lehrman does not assign a specific grade level to their lesson plan, the Lexile level of the documents suggest that this would be suitable for 9th grade. As you will hear in each episode of the podcast, the lesson Native American policy was taught in the 8th grade and high school. As with any lesson, please scaffold and/or make the necessary modifications for your students.

The French and Indian War/Treaty of Paris

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS 8.2.5, SS 8.4.1, SS 8.4.2, and SS 8.4.3
  • Civics Standard: SS HS.1.1

Northwest Ordinance (1787)

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS 8.1.1, SS 8.1.2, SS. 8.4.1, SS 8.4.2, SS 8.4.3, and SS 8.4.4
  • Civics Standard: SS HS.1.1

Westward Expansion

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS. 8.4.1, SS 8.4.2, SS 8.4.3, and SS 8.4.4
  • Civics and Geography Standards: SS HS.1.1 and SS HS.3.2

Indian Removal Act (1830)

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS 8.1.1, SS 8.4.1, and SS 8.4.3
  • Civics Standard: SS HS.1.1

James K. Polk Presidency and Manifest Destiny

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS 8.1.1 and SS 8.4.1
  • Civics Standard: SS HS.1.1

Native American Assimilation and Indian Boarding Schools

  • 8th Grade Standards: SS 8.1.1, SS 8.1.2, SS 8.4.2, and SS 8.4.3
  • US History Standards: SS HS.4.1, SS HS.4.2, SS HS.4.3, and SS HS.4.4

Team Discussion Questions:

Phase I – What is inquiry?

  • What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of inquiry?
  • What are some of our favorite inquiry go-to’s for instructional materials?
  • Explain why instructional materials are central to inquiry work.
    • How do you know that the instructional materials that you have chosen for your inquiry work is high quality?
    • What do you need to consider when selecting instructional materials to use for inquiry?
  • How do you get students on board with using texts that may be dense and harder to understand?

Phase II – Lesson Preparation

  • What is your initial impression about the Gilder Lehrman Native American Policy lesson?
    • What’s good/great about this lesson?
    • Is this an inquiry lesson and If it isn’t, what changes can we make so that this an inquiry lesson?
    • What changes should we make for this lesson to meet the needs of our students?
  • Were the developers of this lesson able to take this topic and make it interesting and/or important to the lives our students?
    • How will our students respond to this lesson?
  • Are we excited to teach this lesson?

Phase III – Reflection

  • How did the lesson go?
    • Were the students able to meet the lesson objectives?
    • What instructional methods were used to ensure that students were able to meet the objective?
    • Were the students engaged in the lesson?
    • What in this lesson resonated with you?
  • How would you assess the rigor of the instructional materials used in the lesson?
    • What other high-quality instructional materials could you use to support this lesson?
    • How will this lesson impact your use of instructional materials going forward?
  • This was a lesson about American Indians/Native Americans. Do you think that this lesson did a good job of presenting the authentic experiences of American Indians/Native Americans?
  • Are there any other areas of inquiry or high-quality instructional materials where you could use more support?

Helpful Links:

John Dewey in the 21st Century

Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences

Reading Like a Historian

What is Inquiry-Based Social Studies?

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG)

Gilder Lehrman

Library of Congress Classroom Materials

Inquiry Arc (and C3 Framework)

R.A.F.T. Instructional Strategy


Updated May 16, 2022 1:06pm