Stories We Use to Understand Our World: Exploring Native American Deeptime Stories and Geology Explanations

In this unit, 2nd grade students will explore two ways that we tell stories in order to explain the world around us.  By focusing on a mountain that is (just about!) visible from the school, students will connect with the cultural importance of deep-time stories as a way to understand our landscape.  This will be compared to a geological explanation of mountains.  Students will engage in multiple ways with both types of stories--through listening, analyzing, illustrating, telling (the story), and comparing. A collaboration between the classroom and library, this unit includes extension activities in the art classroom and sets the stage for a connected writing project.  Students engage with local native culture and history and are encouraged to nurture a deeper respect for traditional tales.  A “Read and Analyze Nonfiction Chart” is used to scaffold a mini-research process, allowing students to confirm their prior knowledge and uncover misconceptions.  

Additional creators: 

Lisa Kuerzel

School name: 

Leverett Elementary School

School district: 

Union 28 Public School District



Grade Level: 


Subject Area Focus: 

English Language Arts

Estimated days to complete: 


Creator Name: 

Lani Blechman