Paddle-to-the-Sea: A Social Studies Lesson

Our students will learn about their culture and peoples through migration and the many migration stories and the many tools they used to travel and live. Our students will come to understand different clans and how they came to be. Our students will learn their clan names in Ojibwe.Paddle to the Sea was first published in 1941. This book has varied reviews by Native Scholars and culturalists. The teacher of this lesson used some of the dated language and content to teach about racism of the past and changes in our cultural respect. Please be sure to always check with local elder and community members in your region, to ensure the use of appropriate Native materials for your classroom curriculum.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


How did the Ojibwe peoples get here? Explain and discuss to the students that many of the Ojibwe peoples originated and migrated from the east, near the Atlantic Ocean. How do we know that the Ojibwe people migrated from the east? This is one theory or idea that people have studied, researched, and through discovery, archeologists found many items that belonged too and were from the Ojibwe peoples.


Students will study a map of the area we are reading about so that when we begin to make the map they will have an idea of what belongs on Paddle-to-the-Sea's journey. I will read a story about Migration.


Make a map that will be large enough to go on the wall. Draw pictures of the Ojibwe migrating from the east to the mid-west. Include their belongings, i.e., canoes, baskets, children, elders etc. Students will label the map in the English and Ojibwe language.


How do think our Ojibwe peoples were able to find their way to Lake Superior? Why did our Ojibwe peoples migrate to this area?


Students will be able to draw Paddle-to-the-Sea's journey on a map that has landforms and they will match English/Ojibwe words,

Vocabulary Words


See the additional Paddle to the Sea lessons and Unit plan that partner well with this lesson plan.

Grade Level

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Social Studies