Lesson Plan


You're dropped in a remote location with nothing, but the clothes on your back. Can you survive?
Stacie T.
Technology Integrator
Hanover County Public Schools
Ashland, VA
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

The student will demonstrate knowledge of how early cultures developed in North America by b) locating where the American Indians lived, with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit), Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plains (Lakota), Southwest (Pueblo), and Eastern Woodlands (Iroquois).  The student will demonstrate knowledge of how early cultures developed in North America by c) describing how the American Indians used the resources in their environment. (VA SOL US1.3)

Social Studies
Grades 4 - 7
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

The teacher will hold up a gym suit (or something similar) and the classroom "Survivor Trophy" and explain that all students will be dropped in a remote location somewhere in the United States wearing nothing but their gym suit. They have no tools, no food, and no forms of communication.  They are to survive for as long as possible by creating a viable survival plan.  The goal of each team is to create a plan that will earn them the class "Survivor Trophy."  Preview a wide variety of images that represent the geography and natural resources of each region, but don't indicate which region they belong to allowing students to start thinking about obstacles they could possibly face.

The teacher can either pre-select the groups based on classroom dynamics or walk around and have students choose a slip of paper indicating the region they will be dropped in (Pacific Northwest, Alaska/Northern Canada, Southwest, Great Plains Region or Eastern Woodland Region).  Using Google Classroom the teacher will have set up beforehand 5 Google Docs each with the title of the region.  Students will access their group doc through Google Classroom.  They will complete a KWL chart about their region.  

2 Direct Instruction

The teacher and students will discuss the following vocabulary to help guide the development of a survival plan:

  • geography
  • climate
  • natural resources
  • capital resources
  • human resources
  • basic needs

Using this information, students will develop a viable plan for food, clothing, water, and shelter that take into effect the geography and climate of the region in which they are dropped.  Their plan should reflect the use of natural resources and human resources to develop capital resources that help meet their basic needs.

3 Guided Practice

Students will conduct research by accessing their group Google Doc through Google Classroom.  Using the research tools, students will insert information and pictures that represent opportunities and obstacles in their region as well as the Native American group that lived in that region.  The teacher will use the commenting feature to help facilitate the research and discussion during this research phase.

4 Independent Practice

Students will create a tour in Google Tour Builder that shows where they will build their shelter, what bodies of water they might use and what geographical barriers they will have to navigate around  to meet their basic needs. Students will embed pictures and links that help to better understand resources, obstacles and the Native American group who lived in the region.  Once the tour has been built, students will share their tours on Google Classroom.  Other classmates  will view each other's tour to learn about the Native American group, geography, climate and natural resources available by jotting down their notes on a note sheet provided by the teacher. They will get with their groups to collectively fill out "L" section of the KWL chart on all 5 regions.

5 Wrap Up

As a wrap up, students will get into new groups where there is at least one representative from each region present. Each representative will take 3-5 minutes to explain their survival plan and why it's the best.   Each student will then vote on the most viable plan using a Google Form the teacher created beforehand. The team that wins will get the class "Survivor" trophy.