Home | Log In

Lesson: Winter Counts (a closer look) - Power Point Presentations

Date Created 9/10/2012 11:38:30 AM
Grade Level K-2
Category Social Studies

Supporting Materials & Additional Resources

Wintercountlessonplane2_2018.pdf Lesson Plan
WinterCountInteractivePP1_2018.pptx Interactive PowerPoint I
WinterCountInteractivePP2_2018.pptx Interactive PowerPoint II
Video Courtesy: South Dakota Public Broadcsting


Lesson Plan: Winter Counts (a closer look)

“Click” Lesson Plan and PowerPoint Presentations - lower left in the table below the player (Advance through the sides slowly for the interactive to work properly) ***NOTE*** The presentations download very slowly if you choose "Open". Please select "Save", and save the PowerPoint presentations to your desktop for a quick download.

Winter Count Lessons

South Dakota DOE - Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards
(Essential Understanding 6: OSEUS6)

Background: A winter count is a pictographic record of historical/memorable events for a tiospaye (community). The pictures, which were used as mnemonic devices, are arranged in chronological order. Originally, the memorable events were recorded on rock (many paintings found on cave walls, canyons and mountains throughout the Great Plains), on buffalo hide, deer hide, cow hide, and then ledger paper and muslin (cotton fabric).

Each tiospaye designated a winter count keeper. The keeper (traditionally a man) of the winter count was the historian for the community. Elders would gather and consult with the keeper to select the most important event of the year (first snow to first snow). The keeper would then draw an image on the winter count to represent the event. The images on the winter count were used as a reminder/aide to help the keeper remember the events. The keeper (oral historian) could then explain the events in detail.

Procedure: During this lesson the students will learn about the images drawn on winter counts by completing the activity below. During the activity the students will compare their own pictorial representation of an event with the original keeper of the winter count.

1. Open the first PowerPoint presentation - Winter Counts (a closer look) **NOTE** The presentation downloads very slowly if you choose "Open". Please select "Save", and save the PowerPoint presentation to your desktop for a quick download.
2. The students will view textual representations of winter count images and the “Collector’s Notes” for each image.
3. The students are the “keeper(s)” of the winter count. Have the students draw their representation of the event chosen by the elders. (Option: Have 2-4 students draw their representations on the board (rotate through all of the students))
4. PowerPoint - Advance to the original image created by the keeper.
5. Compare the keeper’s representation with the students’.
6. Continue advancing through the slides. (2 PowerPoint presentations, each with 10 images)
7. Make additional slides:
a. Visit: http://wintercounts.si.edu/index.html
b. Click: Lakota Winter Counts –Online Exhibit-
c. Click: Skip Intro
d. Click: View Winter Counts
e. Click: Overview
f. Select Image
g. Click: Collect This Winter Count
h. Click: My Winter Count
i. Enter Email Address – Images will be sent to your address
8. Visit http://wintercounts.si.edu/index.html to continue looking at original winter counts.

What to expect: The students should realize that the keeper of the winter count is also a historian for the tiospaye (community). The keeper is responsible for providing an oral account of the images drawn. The images should be drawn to help spark the memory of the keeper.

The students should also realize that the keeper experienced the event, which would make recalling the memory much easier. It would be interesting to return (after a few weeks) to some of the images drawn by the students to see if they can recall the textual representations/“Collector’s Notes” of the events.

Keyword Search


Grade Level

South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Education and Outreach Department
(800) 456-0766 | Edservices@sdpb.org