Lesson Four: A Time of Strife

Focus Questions:

• Why was Red Cloud’s War important and how was it resolved?

• How did Custer’s expedition to the Black Hills forever change them?

• How did the Lakotas and Cheyennes respond?

Imbedded Information In The Student Lesson:

Red Cloud; Crazy Horse; George A. Custer; Gordon party; Chinese people; Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Poker Alice; Sitting Bull; Gall


Get Acrobat

A Changing Land Evaluation Sheet

Classroom Activities:

     Have students write a short story about this era. Tell them to create a fictional character who lived among the Teton Sioux, or traveled with Custer’s expedition, or panned for gold in the Black Hills during 1876. Then have students write about what happened from their character’s point of view. Later have students break into small groups and share their stories with each other.

     Have students break into teams and assign each group one of South Dakota’s first visitors or legendary characters. Give students time to study from textbooks or other reading materials. Ask each team to write a short profile about that person—without using the assigned person’s name. When the class regroups, have teams read their profiles and ask the class to guess who they have written about.

     For a gold-panning activity, assemble (1) a large washtub with 5 inches of gravel on the bottom; (2) a number of metal or foil pie pans; (3) "gold" nuggets, either lumps of pyrite (fool’s gold), or small rocks or lumps of lead painted with non-water-soluble gold paint; (4) a sealed container for storing the panned "gold." Bury the "gold" nuggets in the gravel and fill the washtub half full of water. Have students fill the pie pans one-fourth full of gravel and dip the pan into the water, bringing the water level over the top of the gravel layer. Holding the pan on both sides, they should gently swirl the pan in a circular motion. The water should spill over the side, taking any mud or small sand particles with it. As the water in the pie pan runs out, students must replenish it from the water source and pick out the larger rock particles or tip the pan while swirling so they fall out. Repeat the "panning" until only glittering gold is left in the pan. If nothing is left, the student may be swirling too hard, or tilting the pan too much. (Teachers may want to practice this at home to get the hang of it.) Afterwards, have students discuss the process. Is it tiring work to pan gold? Could you do it all day long? How would you feel if you panned all day or even all week or all month and never found any gold? Would you keep trying? Why or why not?