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Our Own Tree of Peace

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Students will define the term “peace,” construct a tree of peace that lists ways the students can get along in class, and identify important ideas within a story.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coin


  • Students will define the term “peace.”
  • Students will construct a tree of peace that lists ways the students can get along with each other in class.
  • Students will listen to and identify important ideas within a story.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Actions that help people cooperate and get along
  • Copying simple terms from the board

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Dollar
  • Peace
  • Unity
  • Tribe
  • Important


  • Copies of the following:
    • “2010 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • “Making Peace” worksheet
    • “Tree Template”
  • 1 overhead projector
  • Construction paper for hand prints
  • Paper for student drawings of important ideas
  • Chart Paper
  • Markers


  • Make copies of the “Making Peace” worksheet (1 per group or per class)
  • Make an overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “2010 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • “Tree Template”
  • Copy or trace the “Tree of Peace” template onto chart paper so that it is large enough to hold each student’s hand prints on the branches. You could make a transparency of the tree, then project the enlarged transparency onto the chart paper and trace it.
  • Trace a hand print onto construction paper for each student and cut them out.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at

Session 1

  1. Describe the Native American $1 Coin Program for background information.
  2. Display the transparency or photocopy of the “2010 Native American $1 Coin” page. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and “obverse” is another name for the front.
  3. Focus on the words “Great Law of Peace” in the coin design. Explain that the image on the coin is one way to help people remember (symbolize) the Great Law of Peace, a law created by certain Native American groups.
  4. Post the word “Peace” on a piece of chart paper large enough for each student to see.
  5. Lead the class in a discussion about what that word means.
  6. Record each student’s idea on the chart paper.
  7. Post a class definition of “Peace” on a new piece of chart paper.

Session 2

  1. Seat the class in a large reading group and explain that you are going to read a story about Indian tribes that found a way to live in peace many years ago.
  2. Read the story about the Great Tree of Peace from the “Making Peace” worksheet.
  3. Ask the students what they know about different Indian tribes and how they got along with each other.
  4. Lead the students in a discussion about how the Peacemaker and Hiawatha showed that working together in peace would make the tribes stronger and how that would be better for the tribes.
  5. Ask the students to draw a picture of one important idea in the story. Display these drawings on a bulletin board or on the classroom walls.

Session 3

  1. Lead the students to think about the story you read and discussed in session 2.
  2. Display the peace tree on chart paper.
  3. Explain to the students that the tribes in the story selected a tree to symbolize their unity. Explain that the class will use the peace tree symbol as a reminder that the students can all cooperate and get along well in their classroom.
  4. Lead the class in a discussion about why getting along with each other in our classroom would help us all learn.
  5. Have the students brainstorm actions that would help everyone in the classroom work together peacefully.
  6. Record these thoughts on the board or on chart paper. Students may suggest talking politely, listening quietly, helping, sharing, or taking turns. If the students need help, prompt them with some idea starters. Shorten the student ideas into words or short phrases rather than sentences. For example, “not taking turns in a game” could be “taking turns.”
  7. Give a cut-out hand print to each student and ask them to select one of the ideas on the board and copy that onto their handprint. Assist the students in copying as needed.
  8. Have each student come up to the tree and state what they have selected and written and tape it to the tree branches.
  9. After all the students have posted their handprints, post the tree in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to trace the words onto their hand prints.
  • Have the class read the word on the hand print aloud or allow another student to read the word.


  • Have the students use the 5 fingers of their handprint and their palm to help recite the 5 original tribes participating in the peace treaty. (These tribes are listed in the story “Making Peace” from this lesson.)
  • Have the students perform a play, acting out the peace treaty ceremony from the story “Making Peace.”
  • Have the students construct a tree of peace that is posted for the school to see.
  • Use anecdotal notes and participation in the class discussion to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.
  • Evaluate whether each student was able to identify a key point from the story and to select and copy the idea on their hand print.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Culture and Cultural Diversity
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand and apply the concept of culture as an integrated whole that governs the functions and interactions of language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behavior patterns
  • enable learners to analyze and explain how groups, societies, and cultures address human needs and concerns
  • guide learners as they predict how experiences may be interpreted by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference
  • encourage learners to compare and analyze societal patterns for transmitting and preserving culture while adapting to environmental and social change
  • enable learners to assess the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups
  • have learners interpret patterns of behavior as reflecting values and attitudes which contribute to or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding
  • guide learners in constructing reasoned judgments about specific cultural responses to persistent human issues
  • have learners explain and apply ideas, theories, and modes of inquiry drawn from anthropology and sociology in the examination of persistent issues and social problems

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Time, Continuity, and Change
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand that historical knowledge and the concept of time are socially influenced constructions that lead historians to be selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use
  • help learners apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
  • enable learners to identify and describe significant historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, including but not limited to, the development of ancient cultures and civilizations, the emergence of religious belief systems, the rise of nation-states, and social, economic, and political revolutions
  • guide learners in using such processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and interpret the past, such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, searching for causality, and distinguishing between events and developments that are significant and those that are inconsequential
  • provide learners with opportunities to investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment; and enable learners to apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features