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Early Lifestyles


People have been a part of Idaho's history for thousands of years. Early Lifestyles takes a look at how the ancient Idahoans lived. The video also shows how technology changed and improved their quality of life and how the lives of the ancient Idahoans were dictated by the whims of nature.


After viewing Early Lifestyles, students will be able to:

  1. Compare the ways ancient Idahoans lived, gathered food and survived.
  2. Explain how nature ruled the lives of ancient Idahoans.
Native American on horseback
Early Lifestyles looks at the lives of ancient Idahoans and the lives of Native Americans until the time the horse was introduced into their culture. The video begins with the host, Phyllis Edmundson, at Owl Cave, an archaeological site in eastern Idaho. The video presents Idaho's leading archaeologists' views of how ancient Idahoans lived. It challenges students to imagine what their lives would be like if they lived back then.

The video then moves to a discussion of the "seasonal round." Native Americans traveled from place to place to find food depending on the time of year. Emma Dann, a member of the Shoshone tribe, describes the seasonal round and its importance.

Next, Early lifestyles looks more closely at how people of this era lived. Archaeologist Frank Leonhardy describes pit houses and a communal lifestyle. The video closes with a discussion of the impact that the coming of horses had on Native Americans' lives.


(Before Viewing)

  1. Have students write a description of what they think life would have been like for the ancient Idahoans. What would they have eaten? What would their homes be like?
  2. Using a world map and a globe, discuss ways the ancient Idahoans may have come to the area. What would the world have looked like
  3. Have students look up pictures of the types of animals found in North America during the time the ancient Idahoans were first coming to
    the area.
  4. Begin to fill in the information display described on the Special Project. Have students fill in as much as they can in the spaces under the headings WHAT WE KNOW: and WHAT WE WANT TO KNOW: After viewing the program, you may be able to add to those two headings.

(During Viewing)

  1. How were the lives of ancient Idahoans different from yours or mine?
  2. What animals do they remind you of?
  3. Can you imagine what your life would have been like if you lived then?
  4. What do you think happened to make the first Idahoans' lives different?
  5. What kind of plants do you suppose they ate?
  6. Can you imagine living with all your classmates instead of just your family?
  7. Why do you think the horse made such a difference in Native Americans' lives?

Ancient ldahoans- Humans who lived in what is now Idaho thousands of years ago
Archaeology- The study of humans who lived a long time ago
Archaeologist- Someone who studies humans who lived a long time ago
Camas Bulbs- The edible root of the Camas plant, a staple of Native American diet
Hopper-Mortar- A stone (mortar) and bowl (hopper) used for the grinding
Pit House- A circular building used by some Native Americans
Seasonal Round- Moving from place to place to find the food following the seasons of the year and the cycles of the harvest
Succulent- Good, rich, mouth-watering
Woolly Mammoth- An extinct species of elephant which had a hairy coat and long curved tusks


(After Viewing)

  1. What can you learn about ancient peoples by studying archaeology?
    Would archaeologists a hundred years from now study the same AND things about us? What differences might you expect?
  2. Discuss the seasonal round. How would it influence daily life back then? How do the seasons influence our lives today?
  3. Compare and contrast the lifestyles found in the pit house era and the lifestyles of young people today.
  4. The video mentions several ways the horse changed Native Arnericans' lives. List them and any others. Compare that to how the automobile changed the lives of Idahoans in the 1920s and 30s. Compare that to how airplanes have changed society.
  1. Fill out third element of KWL sheet. (PDF File) Get Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Visit a museum or archaeological dig.
  3. Identify the different Native American tribes in the state of Idaho and discuss what their different lifestyles were like and why.
  4. Draw or make a pit house showing the various contents. Draw or make a Native American basket, flute or other artifact.

Early Lifestyles KWL worksheet
1. What we know,
2. What we want to know, and
3. What we have learned about Early Lifestyles.