The Indian Agent Appointment Interview
This scenario puts the student as prospective Indian Agent for the Comanche Indian reservation in 1873. For this scenario there are specially selected online links and resources for the unit. It also has the prompt which sets the entire lesson into motion.
Students read the fictional letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In this letter they will find what the scenario entails. They will role play applying for a job as the Indian Agent for the Comanche Reservation in Oklahoma, and must prepare for an interview for the position. They learn as they read the letter that they can use online primary sources as well as other online and print sources to find information.
Groups will then begin to define exactly what it is that they are to do.
They will answer the three main PBL questions:
- What do we know?
- What do we need to know?
- How do we find needed information.
Groups then assign information retrieval to selected students who will then share what they find with the group.
On the second day, class starts with sharing of found information. Other students then ask follow-up questions to gain a better idea of what is there.
Have students write a letter to the fictitious official.
An alternative is to have an actor who plays an interviewer come into class and role play the official. Students take turns interviewing and answering questions.
Research more recent issues relating to American Indian reservations, such as gaming casinos, using THOMAS. Questions to consider might include:
- What have been the major issues and differences, and how have they been resolved?
- What are the rights and responsibilities of both the government and the tribes?
- How does gambling relate to other issues?
Advice To The Teacher
The following points and thoughts are offered to the teacher who is guiding the students through the PBL unit.
- The use of brainstorming with the students will assist them in clarifying (throughout the unit) what they are doing and where they are in their progress toward their presentation.
- Students should, at the very least, be able to come to an understanding that they will be expected to know relevant U.S. laws and Supreme Court decisions, historical events which led to the laws and cases, the key individuals who played roles in the development of the laws and policies, and that they will need to know their material well enough to respond to questions.
- They should be made aware of the range of resources available, both in their local school library, community, and online. They should not depend solely upon Internet resources.
- Students should be encouraged to collaborate, and within acceptable limits, make shared presentations, as long as you as a teacher are comfortable that the presentations reflect the shared knowledge of the group members.