Students do a “jigsaw” activity in which groups complete introductory research about some of the major groups that have come to North Dakota. The findings of their research will be recorded on a graphic organizer. They then compare notes with other students in order to learn general background information about each group.
This lesson is part of Great States: North Dakota | Unit 1: Introduction to North Dakota where students will examine seemingly objective terms and concepts. The materials and activities in this unit will give students a more nuanced understanding of how to set about learning about their state.
30 minutes (allow 45 minutes if traveling to library)
4.6.2: Explain the contributions of various ethnic groups (e.g., Native Americans, immigrants) to the history of North Dakota (e.g., food, traditions, languages, celebrations)
- Research books, textbooks, computers, or a school library (if possible)
- Class set of the Groups of North Dakota graphic organizer
- Ask students if they know when or how their families came to be in North Dakota. Then, indicate that they will be doing preliminary research about some to the groups that have come to the area we now call the State of North Dakota. They will be focusing on the difficulties confronted by each group and how the group influenced the economy, environment, culture, and history of North Dakota.
- Pass out the Groups of North Dakota graphic organizer. This activity will be done as a jigsaw. Divide students into four groups by having them count off to four. Form “expert” groups by having students work with students who have the same number. Assign each with one of the groups of people from the organizer to research. Within each group, a student can be assigned a category to focus on if there are enough students to do so. Note that the impact column should refer to what each group has contributed to North Dakota as a collective: of culture, economic impact, etc.
Research resources will depend on the availability of books, computers, textbooks, etc. in your classroom. If possible, expand this activity by planning a trip to the school library. The intention is for students do this as an introductory exercise, as they will be learning more about each of these groups throughout the year. Therefore, students should only be given 15 minutes to research their category.
- Once the “expert” groups have completed their initial research, rearrange them into groups that have one of each number (one from each research group). Then, they will share the information they have found in “home” groups comprised of these students, each with a different number. By the end of sharing, each student should thus have a completed graphic organizer.
- To conclude the lesson, each “home” group will develop one question that the class would like to answer about each of peoples they have just learned about.