Lesson Four: Europeans Visit South Dakota

Focus Questions:

• How do we know the La Verendrye brothers explored South Dakota in 1743?

• What kind of pelt was most popular among fur traders? Why?

• What kind of changes did this trade bring to South Dakota?

Imbedded Information in the Student Lesson:

Verendrye Plate; Fort Pierre high school students who found plate; Great Lakes; Poncas


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Beginnings Evaluation Sheet

Classroom Activities:

     Break the class into groups and assign each one a secret expedition—to the cafeteria, library, gym, or principal’s office, for example. Before the expeditions leave, have each team create its own "Verendrye Plate" out of poster paper. Then armed with pencil, paper, and their Verendrye plates, students should embark on their expeditions. Have them observe their paths carefully and write specific directions that describe their routes for future "explorers." Tell students their directions cannot use such proper nouns as cafeteria, library, or gym; their directions can only use descriptive words and phrases. When groups reach their destinations, have them leave their Verendrye plates behind. After students have returned to the classroom, tell them to exchange directions with another group. Then each group should set off again, using another group’s directions to find and bring back a Verendrye plate.