Unit: The Ho Chunk Nation
Grade: 4
Unit EQ's: Who are the Ho Chunk?  What is their nation’s makeup and how was it traditionally run?  What are their beliefs, traditions, and spiritual practices?  How have their lives and land been shaped by the American Government?
Lesson 3:  The Ho Chunk Creation story and Beliefs
Lesson EQ:  What are the Ho Chunk beliefs, traditions, and spiritual practices?
MMSD Standards: 
Behavioral Sciences 1: Compare and contrast individual perspectives and differences.
Behavioral Sciences 4: Describe the arts and literature, traditions, customs, and celebrations of the diverse cultural groups in Wisconsin including Wisconsin Native Americans.

Materials Needed:
Social Studies Notebook
Picture of Effigy Mound

SWBAT: Apply their prior knowledge of the Ho Chunk to hypothesize the potential uses of effigy mounds by contemplating their potential uses.
SWBAT:  Express their theories as to the purpose and uses of effigy mounds by writing a journal in their social studies notebook.
SWBAT: Respect the different stories and practices of the Ho Chunk.
SWBAT: Recognize the figures and spirits that are important to the Ho Chunk.
SWBAT: Create connections between the figures of the effigy mounds and the important figures in their culture.

Lesson Context:
            This will be the third lesson in a unit about the Ho Chunk Nation.  The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the students to the beliefs and traditions of the Ho Chunk.  I want to emphasize their strong connection with the earth along with the importance of effigy mounds and how they relate to their beliefs.

Lesson Opening:
            I will open the lesson with an explanation that oral history and an oral tradition is very important to many cultures in the world.  The Ho Chunk were no different in that they too relied on oral tradition to pass down their beliefs, mythology, traditions, etc…  To honor that oral tradition I will have memorized the creation story as told by Chief Little Hill to George Gale in the 1930’s and will tell it to my students to begin the class.

1.       Upon completing the story I will ask the students what tobacco was used for in the story.  Upon hearing their answers I will explain that tobacco was a very important crop for the Ho Chunk because when they pray, they put down a prayer offering of tobacco.  They offer the tobacco to the spirits of the world and by burning them they could be heard by the “winds or the beasts.”

2.       At this time I will put up a picture of an effigy mound and ask the students if they know what is in the picture.  If they can identify it I will confirm what it is, if they do not know I will tell them that it is a picture of an effigy mound.  I will explain that effigy mounds were very sacred monuments to the Ho Chunk.  They were raised piles of earth that were built in the shape of animals and spiritual figures.

3.        I will then go on to explain that the Ho Chunk believe that the world is inhabited by powerful spirits who inhabit the upperworld and lowerworld, similar to the organization of the clans of the Ho Chunk.

4.       At this point I will go to the whiteboard and explain that there were three divisions that effigy mounds fell into, “Sky,” “Earth,” and “Water.”  I will write these on the board and will ask the students which animal of the sky was considered most important to the Ho Chunk.  Hopefully I will get the response that the Thunderbird was considered most important.  I will draw a couple of outlines of sky effigy mounds on the white board  and explain that the thunderbird is a very powerful spirit to the Ho Chunk.  They are approachable by humans as guardians and helpmates.  Lightning flashes from their eyes, and thunder is caused by the flapping of their wings.  I will go on to explain that the effigy mounds representing the spirits of the upperworld were normally in the shape of birds.  They were often found in the hill country of the southwest and along bluffs and terraces of the Wisconsin and Mississippi valleys.

5.       After this I will ask the students which animal was probably considered the most important in the water division of the lowerworld.  Upon hearing the water spirit I will explain that the water spirit is a very powerful spirit that lived in the water.  It resembles a panther and has a very long tail.  At this time I will draw the outline of a water spirit effigy mound, showing the figure and long tail of the water spirit.

6.       I will then explain that these mounds were often found in areas where many large lakes, swamps,  and marshes were located.  They were also often near water springs, which were considered sacred to the Ho Chunk and were seen as the entrance to the watery underworld of the water spirits.  The water spirit was often refered to as a water monster that could bring about bad fortune, however, they could also do great things for the Ho Chunk.  And so the Ho Chunk would make offerings to the water spirits and pray that they aid them.  To end this I will explain that there were also mounds of turtles and lizards that fell into the water division as well.

7.       I will then ask the students which animal was considered most important in the earth division and they should respond the bear.  At that time I will draw the outline of an effigy found in the earth division and show the students its similarity to the shape of a bear.  I will explain that these mounds depicted animals found on the earth and that they did not have long tails like the water spirits not wings like those of the upperworld.

8.       At this time I will ask the students to get out their social studies notebooks and I will ask them to write a journal about what they believe the purpose of the effigy mounds were to the Ho Chunk?  Why did they create them?  What were they used for?  What did they represent?  I will give them around 10 minutes to write down their thoughts.

9.       After they have had time to create their journal entry I will bring the class back together and lead a discussion about their predictions.  I will ask students to share what they wrote with the rest of the class and when a student is finished I will ask the other students if anybody else had their theory written and why they too came to that conclusion.  I will do this until the students are all shared out.

10.    At this time I will explain that the exact purpose of the effigy mounds is still not known but there are several theories similar to the ones they posed.  They could have been used for religious purposes such as rites and ceremonies.  Others believe they were symbols used to honor the animal of the respective clan in the area.  Others believe that they were used as burial sites for important figures.  Others believe that they were used a places of refuge for the people.

11.    I will then explain that regardless of the use of the effigy mounds, they were very important to the Ho Chunk and they were very spiritually attached to them.  At this time I will explain that when the Ho Chunk were removed from their land and white settlers moved many effigy mounds were destroyed and used as a place for houses or farms.  The capital building in Wisconsin was built on an effigy mound.  This upset the Ho Chunk a great deal as they were an important part of their spiritual beliefs and were also the resting places of very important people in their history.

            I will end the class by asking the students if they have any further questions or comments.  I will take their questions or comments and officially end class by collecting their social studies notebooks when they have nothing more to ask.

            Teacher will informally assess the students understanding based on their involvement with class discussions and their journal in their social studies notebook.