Chumash Indians were some of the first inhabitants of North America with their numbers exceeding 20,000 along the California coastline at one point. Their culture is rich with traditions that can be studied in the fourth grade. Lesson plans for students can include a variety of activities and topics ranging from hunting and gathering methods, lineage and beliefs.
Form students in small groups and assign the general topic of food. Children will research various sub-topics, such as hunting and gathering techniques, preparation method and weapons used for food gathering. Students can create a report on the various topics that they found and complete their assignment with illustrations, such as tools, equipment and cooking utensils.
Form students into small groups and assign the topic of language. Children will research the language of the Chumash Indians. After preparing a category list of different Chumash Indian language words, they can write a short story using the words to describe a day in the life of a Chumash Indian. For example, the teacher could assign one group to research words that were involved with landscape. The Chumash Indians had many words that were different to describe what they saw and where they went. This particular group could take other students on a journey through the land and relate to them where they are using Chumash Indian language.
Culminate the unit with the Chumash Indian activity of rock painting. Have students bring in a rock large enough on which to paint a picture; they could go to a local park or river to find one. Study the types of paintings that the Chumash created on rocks. Use the different content from the unit on language, hunting, cooking and tools to create pictures of significance. Have students pick a subject that they feel was most important to the Indians and have them paint it on their rock.
- indian statue image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com