Under A Stand Still Moon
Lesson Plans

Under a Stand Still Moon


Discussion/Comprehension Questions


1. What was the important discovery that Echo made the day that Sun Watcher died? Why was this discovery so crucial?


2. How and why did Echo receive her second name?


3. How did the Ancestral Puebloans explain the sudden covering of the sun? Why did it scare Echo and her people so much? What do we now call this natural phenomenon?


4. What was the event on the mesa top that completely changed the course of Echo’s life?


5. What was the apparatus that Sun Watcher taught Echo to make? What was the purpose of this instrument?


6. How did the religious beliefs of the Ancestral Puebloans affect their every day lives? Give examples of the way their belief in the gods affected their actions, such as planting, harvesting, and making pottery and baskets.


7. What are some of the methods that Echo’s people employed for survival when the corn didn’t grow? How did they feed themselves and their children?


8. Describe the event of a stand still moon. What happened and why was this event so important to Echo’s people?


9. Compare and contrast the ancient society of the Ancestral Puebloans to our society today. Identify the similarities as well as what has changed or improved over time. In what ways are we still at the mercy of nature?


10. Echo’s people had a short period of grieving after the death of a loved one, and then they spoke very little of this person after that. What did the Ancestral Puebloans believe happened to their loved ones after death? Why do you think they dwelled so little on the events of death or the grieving process?


11. It was not only natural phenomena that drove Echo’s people from their homeland. What other event succeeded in causing terrible damage to the villages and the fields? Why were Echo’s people unable to stop this from occurring?


12. Describe the events surrounding “Green Corn time.” Why was this an important time for Echo and her people? What were they celebrating?


13. Why was Echo told that she could no longer run around with her brothers and help to harvest the corn, once she turned 12? What were her new responsibilities?


14. Why did Echo’s brother, Jumping Fish, decide not to marry?


15. Describe the rituals of marriage between the clans of Echo’s people. What was the process of courtship?


16. After hunting a large animal like a deer or an elk and eating all the meat, what did the Ancestral Puebloans do with the remainder of the animal?


17. What do you think Echo’s grandmother meant when she said, “You must listen to your own stillness?”




Kiva : a round dug-out chamber with a flat roof. Entered from the roof and used for ceremonies and as a gathering place for men.

Sipapu :  A ceremonial floor opening in the kiva, believed to lead to the spirit world.

Cradleboard :  A Native American baby carrier created from a flat piece of wood or woven from flexibly twigs, used to keep babies safe and secure while allowing their mothers to work and travel.

Lunar standstill : An event that takes place every 18.6 years in which the range of the declination of the moon reaches a maximum.

Yucca : Plants native to the hot and dry areas of North America, notable for their sword shaped and tough leaves. Yucca fibers were boiled and then used for the weaving of baskets and sandals by the Ancestral Puebloans.

Nomad : Someone who moves from place to place, rather than settling down in one area. Nomadic people are usually hunter-gatherers living in community.

Solstice : either of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator  and ecliptic reach their largest separation. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are the defining moments of the start of the astronomical seasons.

Slip : In  ceramics, slip is a diluted clay solution used for decorating or coating pottery or for casting in a plaster or rubber mold. The Ancestral Puebloans used slip to make their pottery.

Pit house : A semi-permanent home made of poles and brush plastered with mud over a shallow pit in the earth.

Masonry : is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar. A highly durably form of construction.

Clan : is a group of people united by kinship and descent, which is defined by perceived descent from a common ancestor.




  1. Construct a diorama depicting one of the structures made by the Ancestral Puebloans, such as a pit house, kiva, or the great house.


2.  Echo often spoke of the stories that her people told each other, about the          

hunt or the gods. Research some of the stories and myths that different Native American tribes have told over the years, specifically the Hopi, Zuni or Pueblo, the modern day descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans.


  1. Write your own myth or story about the cause of some kind of natural event, such as a solar eclipse, a drought, hurricane, or a thunderstorm.


  1. Study the pottery of ancient Native Americans and construct your own coil pot using some of the traditional designs present in their pottery.

Under A Stand Still Moon by Ann Howard Creel