skip navigation
Left Navigation Links

 

Symbols of Peace

Printable view

Summary

Students will learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, the Great Law of Peace, symbolism, and the symbolism in burying weapons beneath the Great Tree of Peace.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coin

Objectives

  • Students will learn that the Iroquois Confederacy was a group of separate nations bound together by the Great Law of Peace.
  • Students will describe and explain the symbolism in the act of burying weapons beneath the Great Tree of Peace.
  • Students will be able to state that a symbol is something that stands for, or represents, something else.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Symbols
  • First Americans: Tribes/Nations
  • Causes of conflict
  • Homes, clothing, crafts, and weapons in developing cultures

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Dollar
  • Peace
  • Unity
  • Tribe
  • Symbolism
  • Great Law/Tree of Peace
  • Iroquois Confederacy
  • Treaty

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • Οverhead transparencies (or photocopies) of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • Examples of symbols
  • Copies of the following:
    • “Web Tree and Eagle” worksheet
    • “Picture Fact Card” worksheet
    • “Window Pane Fact Sheet”
    • Native American $1 Coin Resource Guide (available at www.usmint.gov/kids)
  • Locate texts that give information about symbols, such as:
    • Signs and Symbols of the Sun by Elizabeth Helfman
    • The Bald Eagle (Symbols of America) by Terry Allan Hicks
    • Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who? The Stories Behind Some of America’s Patriotic Symbols by Teresa Bateman
  • Poster board or chart paper
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Magazines
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Index cards (one for each student)
  • Copy of one story of the “Great Tree of Peace” from the Internet
  • Small shovel or trowel for digging hole beside tree

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of each of the following:
    • “2009 Native American $1 Coin” page
    • Examples of symbols
  • Make copies of each of the following:
    • “Picture Fact Card” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Window Pane Fact Sheet” (1 per student)
  • Cut out the pictures on the “Web Tree and Eagle” worksheet. You can paste them in the center of poster board or chart paper in advance.
  • Gather samples of symbols to help illustrate the idea of representing a concept with an icon, act, or object.
  • Locate a text that gives information about symbols (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Bookmark Internet sites that contain information about symbols and others that reference the Five Nations.
  • Gather magazines that students can use pictures from in creating their cards.
  • Post chart paper copies of the “Window Pane Fact Sheet.”
  • Divide the class into five research groups.
  • Schedule time in the computer lab for students to search for information on their chosen tribe.
  • Select a tree outside where you could dig a small hole to bury the symbolic cards.
  • Obtain permission to dig at the selected tree from your administrator.
  • Locate an Internet source that will help you tell the story of the “Great Tree of
  • Peace” or the “Great Law of Peace.”

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/128.pdf.

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. With the students, examine the 2010 Great Law of Peace design. Have the students identify the images and the writing included in this design. Focus specifically on the tree, the feathers, and the eagle.
  4. Paste the pictures of the eagle and the tree from the “Web Tree and Eagle” worksheet in the center of a piece of poster board or post them on a white board. Using the pictures as the center for two webs, have the students list characteristics of each.
  5. Ask the students if they have ever heard of a symbol. Record examples of symbols they have heard of on chart paper. Explain that people often use symbols to illustrate a particular good characteristic.
  6. Show three or four images with important symbolic meaning. You may include a heart for love, a pair of clasped hands for friendship, an eagle or bear for strength, or a sun for light. Ask students to explain what each symbol represents. Ask the students why some symbols have the same meaning for many different people.
  7. Have the students search resources such as the Internet, books, and calendars to identify symbols.
  8. Have the students select a few symbols to use as examples, trying to choose at least one that no one else has picked. Have them explain what each symbol represents. See whether all the students in the class see the same meaning in each symbol.
  9. Distribute a “Picture Fact Card” worksheet to each student. Have the students put a symbol on the front of each, then write facts on the back, such as the symbol’s name and what the symbol represents. Allow them time to cut out and fold their cards.
  10. Have the students exchange their picture fact cards. Each student should share one card aloud, clearly explaining why the image has meaning for enough people that it can be used as a symbol.

Session 2

  1. On the board or on chart paper, write out the names of the five nations that make up the Iroquois Confederacy (the Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Mohawk, and Oneida).
  2. Guide the students to generate a list of questions about these different nations and write these questions on chart paper or on the board.
  3. Divide the students into five groups and have each group select one nation to research.
  4. Tell the students that each group will become the class expert on one of the five nations and will research and produce a six-pane window of key facts about that nation.
  5. Hand out the “Window Pane Fact Sheet” and give a sheet of chart paper to each group.
  6. Direct the students to use Internet sites such as those below for their research.
  7. Direct each student to use the “Window Pane Fact Sheet” to record information and then gather as a group to summarize their information. Have them recreate the window pane summaries on the chart paper.
  8. Have each group present their findings to the class. Allow time for other groups to ask questions of the presenting group.
  9. Guide the class in a discussion about how differences between the tribes affected their uniting as the Iroquois Confederacy. Compare and discuss similarities and differences between states in the United States today.

Session 3

  1. Guide the students in a discussion about what causes conflict between students in the class.
  2. Record these ideas on the board or on chart paper.
  3. Have the students brainstorm symbols to represent these causes of conflict (for example, if the cause is gossip, the symbol might be a photo of someone who looks hurt, a broken heart, or silhouettes of two people whispering and a third person alone).
  4. Have each student select one cause and its symbol and paste or draw the symbol image on one side of an index card and write the cause on the other side.
  5. Take the students outside to the tree you selected with your administration to dig beside.
  6. Read the story of the “Great Tree of Peace” to the class.
  7. Dig a small hole beside the tree and have each student explain their card and how the symbol they selected represents the cause of conflict in class or school.
  8. Have each student place their card in the hole. When all are finished, cover the hole with dirt or rocks to bury the cards.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide printed reference materials at grade level for the students to use in their research.
  • Use appropriate videos from a local resource, television, a Web site, or other resources to illustrate life for the different tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy.
  • Divide each tribe and the window pane questions into a jigsaw activity and have pairs of students work on a limited number of questions then present their findings to their group before they present to the larger group.
  • Allow students to work independently or in pairs.
  • Have symbols already prepared and have students match the fact with the symbol.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have the students write a short play about the Great Tree of Peace or the Great Law of Peace.
  • Have the students create a picture book for younger students about the Great Tree of Peace or the Great Law of Peace.

Use the students’ class participation, worksheets, and window pane chart to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
  • RI.6.3. Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RI.6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • RI.6.9. Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • W.6.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
  • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.6 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.6.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  • L.6.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.4 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.4.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
  • L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use correct capitalization.
    • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.5 Language
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.5.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses.
    • Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
    • Use correlative conjunctions (e.g., either/or, neither/nor).
  • L.5.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation to separate items in a series.
    • Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.
    • Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).
    • Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.4.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
  • RI.4.5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • RI.4.6. Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.4.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • RI.4.8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  • RI.4.9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.5.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
  • RI.5.5. Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
  • RI.5.6. Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.5.1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RI.5.2. Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • RI.5.3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
  • RI.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
  • RI.6.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

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

  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.