Skip to content
Students using tools in the Native Peoples Gallery

Archaeology and the Native Peoples of Tennessee

Social Studies/science, Grades K–12

Time required: 45 minutes to 1 hour

The culture and way of life of Native Americans in Tennessee, as discovered through archaeology, is the subject of the exhibit. All programs involve inquiry, discussion, and hands-on objects and content in culture, economics, history, geography and Tennessee connections are interwoven. Primary sources, including original artifacts, and hands-on activities provide opportunities for observing, comparing and enhancing understanding and knowledge retention.

The exhibit also includes significant examples of prehistoric American Indian art, and middle and high school students in particular can use these objects as subjects for the identification and comparison of specific media, subjects, symbols, and cultural context.

Additionally, the programs support the common core English language arts literacy standards in history and social studies in integrating information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively with other information in print and digital texts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI…7 for various grades).

Tennessee Social Studies Curriculum

  • K: The World Around Us. What is the past? People, families, and communities of the past; food, clothing, shelter; geography; Sequoyah. K.3, K.4, K.6, K.12, K.14, K.24, K.30
  • 1st: Tennessee’s Place in America. The first people of Tennessee is the focus, including the Cherokee town of Tanasi; landforms and rivers; Cherokee folktales; picture timelines of Native American history, and comparing historic ways of life to today. 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.7, 1.17, 1.20, 1.21, 1.37, 1.38
  • 2nd: Life in the US. Beliefs, customs, traditions, and ways of life of Native Peoples of Tennessee; ancient timeline of Tennessee; Sequoyah; and Trail of Tears. 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.17, 2.19, 2.32, 2.34, 2.35, 2.36, 2.40
  • 3rd: World Geography & Cultures. Maps and globes, Native American interaction with the environment and use of natural resources; Native American history in the southeast US region, and Tennessee in particular for comparison to peoples in other parts of the world (see Arts of World Peoples program). 3.1, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.13, 3.16, 3.26
  • 4th: The History of America to 1850. Cultures of indigenous peoples of Tennessee, including the Cherokee (traditional government, houses, clans, way of life, etc.); European explorers, impact of settlement, and the Columbian Exchange; colonists and the Cherokee; westward expansion and the Trail of Tears. 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.10, 4.12, 4.54, 4.56
  • 5th: The History of America from 1850. The viewpoint of the Cherokee as an example of a Native American people removed from their homeland and subsequent threats west of the Miss. R. 5.30
  • 6th: World History & Geography. Climate, geographic, and cultural change from Paleolithic (called PaleoIndian in the Americas) to agriculture in US and the different crops that developed in the Americas. 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.7
  • 7th: World History & Geography, the Middle Ages to Exploration of the Americas. The impact of exchanges between Native Americans of the southeast U.S. and the Spanish and English and the effects of exploration on Native Americans. 7.74, 7.75
  • 8th: US History & Geography, Colonization to American West. Cooperation and conflict between Native Americans and colonists; Fort Loudoun; Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears; Sequoyah. 8.9, 8.19, 8.56, 8.57
  • AP US History: Several themes, including exchange, peopling, environment & geography, and ideas, beliefs & culture are reflected in the events of prehistoric, exploration, colonial, and early national periods of US history.

Tennessee Science Curriculum

Standard 2: Interdependence, Standard 3: Flow of Matter and Energy; Standard 7: The Earth; Standard 9: Matter; Standard 11: Motion

Specific grade level and course expectations:

  • K: GLE0007.T/E.1,.2.2, .7.2, .9.1, .11.1
  • 1: GLE0107.T/E.1, .9.1, .11.1
  • 2: GLE0207.T/E.1, .2.1
  • 3: GLE0307.T/E.1, .4; .2.2, .7.3, .11.1
  • 4: GLE0407.T/E.1, .2; .2.1, .3.1, .7.1, .11.2
  • 5: GLE0507.T/E.1, .4; .2.3
  • 6: GLE0607.Inq.3, .4, .T/E.3
  • 7: GLE0707.Inq.3, .4; T/E.3; .7.6, .11.1
  • 8: GLE0807.Inq.3, .4; T/E.3; .5.3, .5.4
  • Biology I: CLE3210.Inq.4; T/E.3; .2.3
  • Ecology: CLE3255.Inq.5; T/E.3; .1.3, .2.3, .4.4, .6.3

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.