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        Idaho | Activity 3.1: Prehistoric Travels – How the First People Came to Live in Idaho

        Unit 3: American Indians

        In this Unit, students will learn about the indigenous peoples who inhabited what became the state of Idaho long before the arrival of other groups. Although the arrival of white explorers came relatively late, their impact was profound and continues to reverberate in the lives of tribal people today.

        Lesson Summary

        Students study a map and view a video about migration patterns of early American inhabitants. Students then discuss the possible theories of migration and which is most plausible.

        Standard: 413.08 Identify where the ancestors of Native Americans and immigrants originated.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes



        1. Disperse the Bering Land Bridge handout, which shows currently accepted routes of early humans across the Bering Land Bridge and along the ice-free corridor.

        2. Explain that the map shows contemporary landmasses, as well as the theorized land from 12,000 BCE (outlined in a dotted line).

          1. Have students mark approximately where Idaho is located on this map.

          2. Ask students to identify and write on the map, the name of the continent from where these humans migrated. [Asia]

        3. Now show the video, How the First Americans Arrived, First Peoples: Americas [4:47].

          1. Discuss how the theories in this video differ about possible origins of migrations of first peoples into North America.

          2. Ask students to consider whether one theory must be right and the other wrong, or could both be true.

        Answer Key

        1. Time of migration, coastal rather than land routes, archeological evidence for people in North America long before there was an ice-free corridor

        2. Answers will vary


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