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The Calusa: "The Shell Indians"


  1. The students will be able to identify characteristics of the Calusa Indians and how they differ from other Indian tribes living in Florida.

Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks:

SS.A.1.2.1 - SS.A.2.2.3 - SS.A.3.2.4 - SS.A.4.2.1 - SS.A.6.2 .3 - SS.B.1.2.1


Calusa tribes salvaging explorers
waterways fashion marauding mound
archaeologists artifacts hollowed-out fierce

Suggested Activities:

  1. Using a map of Florida, identify the southwestern area of Florida. Have the students mark this as the location of the Calusa Indians. Have the students also locate and mark the Caloosahatchee River, Estero Bay, and as many other waterways as possible.
  2. Have the students create models of Calusa Indian dwellings using sticks and woven palmetto leaves.
  3. Have the students create tools, utensils, and jewelry from shells.
  4. Have the students compare and contrast the Calusa Indians to the Tocobaga Indians using three-column Notes.
  5. Have the students complete a vocabulary map for the vocabulary word "artifacts."
  6. Complete and review FCAT questions.

(Note: Actual FCAT practice passages are wrtten at the students' independent reading level. These Florida History selections are written at the students' instructional reading level. Therefore, students should not be asked to complete the questions until after receiving class instruction on the vocabulary and content of the passage. Students should also read the Florida History selection independently before answering the FCAT questions and be permited to return to the selection for rereading as they answer.)

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Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers
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