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Bering Strait Migration Theory

History 3: The student understands the origin and impact of ideas and technological developments on history and social change.
Geography 1: The student uses maps, charts, and other geographic tools to understand the spatial arrangement of people, places, resources, and environments on Earth's surface.
Geography 3: The student observes and analyzes the interaction between people, the environment, and culture.

GRADE LEVEL: Secondary

BASIC CONCEPTS: Human migration patterns and theories

ORGANIZING GENERALIZATION: Many experts as well as American Indian people have questioned the validity of the Bering Strait Migration theory as to how the population of the North American continent occurred. Not only should other scientific theories and recent discoveries be considered, but various Indian Nations have stories, legends, and traditions that indicate other possibilities.

CULTURE AREA: North and South America

TIME PERIOD: Earliest human occupation of the America's (200,000 BP to 10,000 BP)

BACKGROUND: Many textbooks and scholars now refer to the Bering Strait Migration theory as fact, but we must remember it is only a theory. It is the most prevalent theory, but that still does not instantly make it fact. Students will not solve the problem that has plagued scientists for many decades but will understand that other factors must be taken into consideration and it is plausible that a paradigm shift must occur after recent archaeological finds are taken into consideration.


Knowledge Students will: (History 3.1) explain the origin and impact of an idea on society, (History 3.2) analyze how historical conditions shape the emergence of ideas and how ideas change over time, and (History 3.3) understand how ideas and technological developments influence people, resources, and culture. ALSO (Geography 1.1) students will use and construct maps, charts, and other resources and (Geography 1.2) recognize spatial patterns on Earth's surface and understand the processes that create these patterns. AND (Geography 3.1) will identify and examine people's interaction with and impact on the environment, (Geography 3.2) analyze how the environment and environmental change affect people, and (Geography 3.3) examine cultural characteristics, transmission, diffusion, and interaction.

Skills Students will: research textbooks, the Internet, library resources, magazine, etc., to discover other plausible concepts or theories regarding this topic.

Values Students will: examine how ideas have conflicted with each other. compare the meaning of ideas, analyze and evaluate how technological developments have change people's ideas about the natural world, and evaluate the consequences of ideas and technological developments on the human and natural world. ALSO produce and interpret maps, tables, and graphs that explain problems and may be use to construct solutions, explain why various places in different parts of the world have particular physical and human characteristics, and evaluate how physical and human processes that change the physical features of the earth can affect public policy debate. AND will analyze and evaluate the possible benefits and consequences of people's use of the environment, analyze how environmental knowledge and responsible action can affect species' survival, detect and interpret how change in the physical environment enhance or diminish its capacity to support human activity, analyze how technological innovation may solve environment problems and create new ones, will evaluate how the numerous subcultures that comprise a national culture interact and examine the consequences of their interaction, analyze how people's responses to public issues are shaped by cultural influences and examine how communications technologies can bridge or impact cultures.

ACTIVITIES: Students will read the accompanying articles, do independent or group research on the topic, and will present their own theory on the populating of the America's. Maps could be constructed showing possible migration routes. Stories could be written that embrace the Native viewpoints.

EXTENSIONS: Advanced research into cultural characteristics, transmission, diffusion and interaction could be undertaken, with a subsequent thesis written evaluating each of these topics.

EVALUATION: Since this issue has no wrong answers because of the fluctuation in scientific reasoning, creative writing should be embraced as having the potential to be as accurate as the current scientific opinion.


article- US News & World Report, Oct. 12, 1998 issue - Rediscovering America: The New World may be 20,000 years older than experts thought.

article- National Geographic, October, 1997, Vol. 192, No. 4 issue - pages 92-99- The Most Ancient Americans by Rick Gore

selected quotes from Red Earth White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact by Vine DeLoria, Jr. -1995 -Scribner: New York

selected materials from American Genesis by Jeffrey Goodman, 1981,Summit Books: New York

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