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In this activity, learners use maps to locate the Northwest Coastal region. They research animals of the region and consider their importance to Native American peoples as they create totems, or animal symbols, for a group totem pole. This activity is featured on pp.34-35 of the "One With the Earth: Native Americans and the Natural World" multidisciplinary unit of study for kindergarten through third grade.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 10 to 15 index cards with the name of a Northwest Coast animal on each one (include animals that may be less familiar, such as the raven, salmon and otter)
  • construction paper
  • markers/crayons
  • picture books, stories, magazines, and electronic media
  • glue (optional)
  • plastic milk jugs or paper boxes (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Native American

    • Acknowledges this group's contributions to STEM
    • Uses inclusive images of people from this group


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis,