Atchafalaya National Heritage Area

Atchafalaya Basin History

Our Atchafalaya Basin History curriculum is composed of six Artifact Packets, each containing lessons and activities for an 8th-grade level Louisiana History course. In the lessons, emphasis is placed on vocabulary development, creative and critical thinking, student investigation, problem-solving, the arts, and communication skills. Additionally, the packet places an emphasis on object-based learning, which emphasizes the links between the past and “real things.” The packet includes photographs of items from the Iberville Museum’s collections for students to observe digitally and interpret each object’s story related to the history at hand.

Each packet includes as followed:

  • Two-page Reading on the Lesson’s Topic
  • Glossary of Relevant Vocabulary
  • Reading Assessment Questionnaire
  • Artifact Analysis Worksheet
  • Primary Source Analysis Worksheet
  • Summative Project/Assessment

The packets can be used as supplemental material to the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area’s Curriculum or as stand-alone lesson plans for teachers to implement in their own curriculum. These packets are suitable to use individually or in conjunction with one another over the course of a school year. All instructional strategies and classroom activities are based on National Common Core Standards and Louisiana Believes Standards.

People of the Atchafalaya

This lesson examines the questions: Who were the different groups of people that settled in the Basin over time?; and How did they influence their environment?

Steamboats in the Atchafalaya

This lesson explores how steamboats helped develop business and commerce in the Basin and throughout the state of Louisiana.

Plantations and Enslavement in the Basin

This lesson examines how the sugar cane industry affected the Atchafalaya and how the system of slavery enabled it to operate.

The Cypress Lumber Boom

This lesson answers the question of how the Atchafalaya’s lumber boom affected the swamp and its people. Students also explore the technology and environmental aspects of the lumber industry.

Communities in the Swamp

This lesson dives into life in a swamp community at the turn of the 20th century. Students learn about how families survived in the swamp and how external changes like industry, flooding, and politics affected their way of life.

Spanish Moss Industry

This lesson examines the significance of the Spanish moss industry to the people of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and its role during the Great Depression.

Additional Resources

The Vocabulary of Freedom from the Underground Railroad History Project explains the importance of reevaluating the language we use when discussing difficult history.

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