Indigenous Peoples & Spaniards Comprehensive Unit: Interactive Slides, Student Questions, & Primary Source



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Teach your American history students about the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere (Native Americans), the encounters the native had with the Spanish explorers, and the Age of Exploration. This lesson teaches about Native American tribes like the Anasazi, Mississippians (who built Cahokia), Lenape Delaware People, Aztec Empire, and more. Then it goes into detail about the Age of Exploration with an emphasis on the Spanish arrival in the New World.

Other topics presented include the Age of Exploration, Encomienda System, Columbian Exchange, and more. Throughout the presentation, there are plenty of discussion opportunities. For example, when discussing the ways the Spaniards treated the Native Americans, students can decide if they agree that the treatment was as bad as the history books say it was or was it indeed a “Black Legend” designed to humiliate the Spanish. Lots of great “thinking like a historian” opportunities.

To make this PowerPoint (Google Slides) lesson more interactive, students are provided with questions they need to answer while you present the material. It also includes a primary source activity. So, this lesson is much more than just a PPT.

This curriculum is great for social studies and history teachers. The design is professional and minimal (i.e., no death by PPT). You can make changes to the PPT if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides.

This PPT and Primary Source Activity will teach your students…

  • Out of Africa Theory
  • Bering Strait Theory
  • Megafauna
  • Different indigenous groups
  • Anasazi
  • Mississippians
  • Cahokia
  • Pacific Northwest tribes
  • Great Plains tribes
  • Eastern Woodland tribes
  • Cherokee
  • Iroquois
  • Lenapes
  • Mayans
  • Aztecs
  • Age of Exploration
  • Reasons Europeans wanted a new route to Asia
  • Portuguese exploration
  • Vasco da Gama
  • Spanish exploration
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Spaniards in the New World
  • Encomienda
  • Viceroyalty of New Spain
  • Bartolomé de las Casas
  • Hernán Cortés conquers Aztecs
  • St. Augustine
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • Columbian Exchange
  • and much more!


Files in this download include:

  • Editable PowerPoint (Google Slides option available)
  • Primary Source PDF (Google Drive option available)
  • Student Study Guide Notes (print for students or load to LMS)
  • Teacher Guide PDF (print one copy for you)


How to use this presentation:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom
  • One slide includes an interactive primary source activity to complete
  • Present and discuss
  • Get students involved and thinking like historians
  • Students fill out the Student Study Guide Notes during presentation

This PPT follows standard American history textbooks.

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


Native Americans


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