Wounded Knee Massacre

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The lesson introduces students to the final major conflict between Native-Americans and the U.S. Army.  It was a controversial one-sided battle where over 200 men, women, and children of the Lakota Indian Tribe were killed.  The lesson includes Native American/U.S. background information.  Most students will not have heard of the Wounded Knee Massacre, but the lessons from the conflict are important to learn.  The location is a U.S. National Historic Landmark known as the Wounded Knee Battlefield.  For further explanation, it is suggested students receive access to the Internet to learn more about the conflict.

Wounded Knee Massacre Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Wounded Knee Massacre
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 5-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

Introduce your students to the final major conflict between Native-Americans and the U.S. Army.  The battle that came to be known as the Wounded Knee Massacre was a controversial one-sided battle where over 200 men, women, and children of the Lakota Indian Tribe were killed.  The lesson includes Native American/U.S. background information.  Students are likely unfamiliar with the history of Native Americans in the United States, and there are important lessons they can learn from gaining an understanding of the treatment of Native Americans.  Additionally, students will be introduced to the U.S. National Historic Landmark known as the Wounded Knee Battlefield.  Along with the historical content provided in the lesson, students will have an opportunity to analyze news reports about the Wounded Knee Massacre, and view examples of how reporting can change public opinion about an event. For further explanation, it is suggested students receive access to the Internet to learn more about the conflict.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask: Who were the first people living in America? Do you believe the Native Americans and settlers always cooperated with each other?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion.
  3. Ask students if they have ever heard of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
  4. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce the Wounded Knee Massacre.
  5. Distribute Wounded Knee Massacre content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Discuss the impact of newspaper stories today and in the past.  Allow students to share their opinions.
  6. Explain to students that sometimes accounts of historical events may differ, especially those that are controversial. Ask students why this sometimes occurs.
  7. Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  8. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  You may suggest examples of poster designs to get students started.  Distribute supplies.  Allow students sufficient time to complete the poster(s).
  9. Once students have completed the poster(s), students share the poster with the class, and discuss its message.
  10. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3

Class Sessions (45 minutes): at least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more social studies resources? Check out our other Social Studies Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Social Studies