Do you think it was right for the gold prospector to rename “Denali” after William McKinley? Why or why not?
Do you think the name “Mount McKinley would have stuck if it hadn’t been included on official maps? Why or why not?
Why do you think people thought it was acceptable to rename so many natural wonders that Native Americans had named long before?
In what ways do you think the renaming of natural wonders impacted Native American cultures? How do you think it impacted other people’s views of those cultures?
- Tell students to imagine that they are mapmakers. State lawmakers recently declared that all of the natural wonders in your state will once again be referred to by their original Native American names. Their job is to revise the official state map.
- Instruct students to conduct research to identify two or more natural wonders in your state that originally had Native American names. Tell students to record the current and previous names of each natural wonder and locate each natural wonder on a state map. Encourage them to investigate to learn more about each place.
- Then have students trace the outline of a state map and plot each location. Tell students to write the name of each natural wonder on the new state maps.
Invite students to present their maps to the class. As they do, instruct them to plot and name their locations on one master state map. Give students a moment to examine the final master map. Discuss how using the original names of natural wonders can help people better understand the state’s cultural history.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Instruct each group to select two natural wonders. Review the choices to ensure that each location is only chosen once.
Have students complete the project in small groups. Instruct each group to select four natural wonders. Tell students to identify which Native American group gave the natural wonder its original name and what that name means in English.
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct each pair to select five or more natural wonders. Tell students to identify which Native American group gave the natural wonder its original name and what that name means in English. As students conduct research, challenge them to discover who each natural wonder was renamed after and why each location was renamed.
Have students complete the project with a partner. Challenge pairs to identify as many of the state’s natural wonders with original Native American names as they can. Instruct students record each natural wonder’s current and former name and what the original name means in English. Tell them to also record when, why and by whom each location was renamed.
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