Crow Canyon

Classroom Resources

Drawing on their expertise in experiential education and their firsthand knowledge of archaeology, Crow Canyon educators have developed a variety of materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. These print and online resources are designed to actively engage students of various ages in the study of archaeology and American Indian history.

Online Resources and Lesson Plans

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Shared Historical Landscapes Project
Mesa Verde National Park
Field Trip Lesson Plans

The Shared Historical Landscapes Project, a partnership among the History Colorado State Historical Fund, Mesa Verde National Park, and Crow Canyon delivers a wealth of resources for students, teachers, and families exploring the park virtually or in person. As part of the project, the Mesa Verde curriculum provides student-centered, standards-aligned lesson plans to enhance, enrich, and support active learning about this remarkable national park.
© 2016

Grades 3–4
Grades 5–6
Grades 7–8

pueblo history for kids

Pueblo Indian History for Kids
For children, this illustrated history of the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest brings the past to life. Tells how Pueblo culture developed from ancient times to the present. Includes glossary, maps, photos, reconstructions, and the video Visit with Respect. Designated "Best of the Web" by the National Endowment for the Humanities and approved for use in the classroom by EDSITEment.
© 2014

Lesson Plan
Standards Alignment
Student Worksheet (Grades 4–6)
Student Worksheet (Grades 6–8)
Student Worksheet (open-ended exploration)

PMVR front page

Peoples of the Mesa Verde Region
More than 10,000 years of American Indian history and 250 years of European-American history are summarized in this illustrated chronology, complete with maps, drawings, and historic photographs.
Geared toward older students.
© 2014

Lesson Plan
Standards Alignment
Student Worksheet

cactus ruin

The Archaeology of Cactus Ruin: A Paper Excavation
Deciding where to dig at an ancient site is determined by the research questions that archaeologists want to answer. The Archaeology of Cactus Ruin: A Paper Excavation teaches students how archaeologists use sampling strategies to learn about past cultures.
Grade level: middle school through adult.
© 2003

woods canyon pueblo

Woods Canyon Pueblo: Life on the Edge
Why did Pueblo Indians build their village on the edge of a steep cliff? Find out what archaeologists think, and meet some Pueblo descendants with their own ideas. Then decide for yourself!
Grades 4, 8.
© 2001
Download Study Guides and Lesson Plans.

Visit With Respect

Visit with Respect
In this 9½-minute video, Pueblo people describe how they feel about archaeological sites and explain why it's important for people to treat all sites with respect. This moving video won the Society for American Archaeology 7.5 Film Fest award in 2010.
© 2007

castle rock pueblo

Castle Rock Pueblo: A Trip Through Time
Visit Castle Rock online! Learn about chronology, human migration, and archaeological ethics. Imagine what it was like to be an ancestral Pueblo Indian in the 1200s, an explorer in the 1800s, and an archaeologist today.
Grades 4, 8.
© 1999
Download Study Guides and Lesson Plans.

Southwest Colorado Educators: Borrow Our History Trunks

ja 2010 history trunk13 20

At Crow Canyon, we teach young people how to interpret the past—because they'll shape our future. As a local outreach initiative, we offer History Trunks for loan—at no cost—to teachers in southwestern Colorado. Designed for elementary school students, the trunks focus on local history and culture. Five trunks are available, one for each of the following themes:

  • Navajo
  • Ute
  • Hispanic
  • European American
  • Community (multicultural)

Each trunk contains replica historic artifacts and photos, books, and other items such as maps, music, and videos. The project is a collaborative effort between Crow Canyon, local teachers, members of the community, and local history scholars.

Impact: Through the History Trunks, kids connect to the past, their present-day community, and their own place in human history. The trunks also promote respect for cultural diversity and appreciation for the uniqueness of the Four Corners area.

Grade Level and Standards: The trunks are to be used in conjunction with teachers’ curricula that have been developed for grade 4; activities can be modified slightly for use in grades 2, 3, and 5. In summer 2013, the curriculum was aligned with the new Colorado Standards focusing on 21st Century Skills. The lessons integrate such diverse subject areas as history, geography, reading, writing, languages, mathematics, music, and art. Each trunk includes a teacher's guide.


Loan Area: Southwestern Colorado (including Cortez, Dolores, Dove Creek, Durango, and Mancos). Borrowers must pick up and return trunks at Crow Canyon, 23390 Road K, Cortez. Sorry, we are unable to offer shipment or delivery.

Loan Period: Two weeks. During this period, multiple teachers may share a trunk in their classrooms.

Cost: Free! (A $50 per trunk refundable deposit is required.)

Borrow a History Trunk!

To reserve your trunk, call a Crow Canyon sales and enrollment specialist at 800.422.8975, ext. 455.

Trunk Details

Dimensions: 16" x 36" x 20"

Contents: A teacher's guide and an array of materials, including two dozen or more replica historic artifacts, two dozen or more replica historic photos and/or documents, and two dozen or more books. Some trunks also include music and videos.

Programs for School Groups

learning about atlatls

Teachers—bring your students to Crow Canyon for an experience they’ll never forget.

  • Field trips and overnight programs
  • Hands-on activities
  • Learning in replica Pueblo structures

Engaging, informative, and fun! Find out more.

Download Our App

Archaeology at Crow Canyon

"Learn About Archaeology" is available as a free app for iPad. Download app.

Windows into the Past

America has a rich, deep past that extends back much further than 1492. In this guide for teachers, Crow Canyon educators present stimulating, experience-based methods for teaching about America's early history in your own classroom (grades 4–8). The hands-on activities presented in this guide focus on the ancestral Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest; the lesson plans can be easily adapted to teach about other culture groups.

Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2000
ISBN 0-7872-6748-1
144 pages
Available from Amazon.