Brenda Beyal, Lorna Loy
Dance, Literature, Elementary English Language Arts, History, Health Education, Social Studies
Material Type:
Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan, Reading
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Coyote
  • Goshute
  • Lesson Plan
  • Native American
  • Storytelling
  • Ute
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Coyote Loses His Eyes

    Coyote Loses His Eyes


    According to Goshute and Ute tradition, Coyote tales should only be told during the winter time. The tribes ask that the teacher use this lesson and story in the winter months. This lesson utilizes the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute (CTGR) tale, “Coyote Loses His Eyes” and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation (UIT) tale, “The Eye Juggler Coyote” to enhance comprehension skills and provide an introduction to comparing and contrasting plot, characters, theme and setting. The students will also be introduced to similarities and differences between the two tribes. Lastly, students will write a response summarizing using compare and contrast key words.

    Native peoples tell stories about Coyote and other animals to their children. Based on Coyote’s mistakes, the elders teach children about proper behavior and positive attitudes. The lessons taught help children to avoid making the same mistakes as Coyote and suffering the consequences in their own lives.


    Coyote Loses His Eyes

    • Time frame: 2 Class period, 45 minutes each
    • Format (synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, virtual, etc.): Whole group, face-to-face
    • Cultural Consultants on the writing of the book: Genevieve Fields and Chrissandra Murphy
    • Adapted by:  Kathryn Hurst
    • Illustrated by: Curtis Yanito
    • Authors: Original lesson by Patricia Helquist, modified by Brenda Beyal and Lorna Loy

    The Eye Juggler Coyote

    • Time frame: 2 Class period, 45 minutes each
    • Format (synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, virtual, etc.): Face-to-face, whole group
    • Cultural Consultants on the writing of the book: Gloria Thompson 
    • Adapted by: LeeAnn Parker
    • Illustrated by: Molly Trainor
    • Authors: Original lesson by LeeAnn Parker, modified by Brenda Beyal and Lorna Loy

    Goals and Outcomes

    As a result of this lesson, students will accomplish the following: 

    • Improve comprehension through reading of the story "Coyote Loses His Eyes” and “The Eye Juggler Coyote.”   
    • Compare and contrast two Native American tales.
    • Summarize two stories.. 
    • Write a compare and contrast response using two Native American tales. 
    • Show where the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation are located.
    • Share information learned about the two tribes and Native American storytelling.



    Background Knowledge

    Teacher Background Knowledge

    Goshute Tribal Group in Utah

    The Goshute tribal group's ancestral lands extend through much of the great basin encompassing western Utah and eastern. There are two recognized Goshute sovereign nations within Utah. One is the The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute reservation whose land is located southeast of Wendover near the Deep Creek Mountains in Juab and Tooele counties as well as White Pine county in Nevada. The other is The Skull Valley Band of Goshute whose reservation lands are near Tooele in Tooele country. Each has its own tribal government by which they are governed. More information about the Goshute tribes can be accessed in the resources below. 
    There are two recognized Ute sovereign nations within Utah. Each has its own tribal government by which they are governed. One is the The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (UMUT). They have several isolated sections of lands in Utah, one community is the White Mesa community between Bluff and Blanding, Utah. The other is The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation (UIT) whose reservation lands are in northeastern Utah. It is from this nation that “The Eye Juggler Coyote” tale is shared. 
    Tales such as the two the students will be listening to are called trickster tales. They are shared stories that also include cultural beliefs and are stories passed down orally in a culture. Traditional storytellers used these stories not only for entertainment, but also to teach lessons about life through the characters and the consequences of their choices. The resource titled, "Native American Storytelling" gives a summary of storytelling that teachers can use to pick main points that they feel are important to teach to their students. 

    Student Background Knowledge

    This lesson asks students to work in groups or pairs, knowing the protocol for working with others is important to know. Also students should be familiar with Utah maps.

    Lesson Preparation

    Initial Preparation

    • Become familiar with the dance vocabulary word “axial” and prepare to teach the two movement experiences. 
    • Preview the story and become familiar with the characters, their problems and the solutions to those problems. Take time to notice similarities and differences between the two stories. 
    • Print the Compare and Contrast handout.
    • Make copies of each of the stories by downloading the printable book format if students will do the assignment in pairs.  
    • Read background information and choose what to share about trickster tales, tribal sovereignty and each of the tribes. 

    Materials Needed

    • Digital copies of the Goshute traditional tale "Coyote Loses His Eyes" and the Ute tale “The Eye Juggler Coyote” or copies of the stories for paired reading (downloadable and printable book format).
    • Paper for writing responses
    • Compare and Contrast handout for each student

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Students who struggle with writing their ideas can be paired or grouped with other students to complete the project; students can illustrate their finished writing pieces with images or characters from the story. The lesson can be adapted to facilitate the struggling student by using paired reading or buddy-share sessions.
    Gifted students can be challenged by creating puppet plays or storytelling sessions, using props, puppets, music, etc. 


    Lesson Procedure

    Vocabulary: peered, pelt, rustling, socket, staggered 
    Dance vocabulary

    • Axial- movement that is done in one place. “element of dance in which dancers stay anchored to one place by a single body part while using available space in any direction. Axial movements involve bending, stretching, twisting, swinging, gesturing, rising, rotating and spinning”

    Teach Compare and Contrast Through Movement
    Day One

    • Teach students the word, “axial” and have students plant their feet and explore bending, stretching and twisting while not moving their feet.
    • Next, have the students explore the axial movements, swinging, rising and spinning while standing in one spot. 
    • Draw a venn diagram or a table on the board and introduce the words compare and contrast. Have students discuss similarities and differences between the two movement experiences and fill out the table.

    Differences- 1st movement

    Similarities/sameDifferences- 2nd movement



    • Explain that today they will be comparing and contrasting two tales from two different sovereign nations within Utah, the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation  and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. Show students the Tribal Nations map and locate each nation.  
    • Share the following about each nation and fill out a venn diagram labeled CTGR for one circle, UIT for the other and “same” for where they intersect:
      • Both tribes have reservations within Utah’s boundaries but the CTGR reservation extends into eastern Nevada. 
      • UIT has the second largest land base of all tribes in the United States (approx. 1.3 million acres) while CTGR has approximately 112,000 acres. 
      • The tribes are similar in that they both are considered sovereign nations which means they are self governing.
    • Hand out the “Compare and Contrast” sheet and explain that you will be reading each story and they will be comparing and contracting the stories. What they write will be text evidence to support their claims in a compare and contrast response of the two stories.  You may decide to download the printable book versions and have the students work in pairs to read and fill out the sheet. Printing enough copies for half of the students of each book and then having them work in pairs works well and saves on paper. 
    • Read the stories and give students time to analyze the stories and complete the assignment. 
    • At this point, you may decide to do a group share or have two partnerships come together to discuss their findings.

    Day Two

    • Review the day before learning and explain to students that today they will be writing a compare and contrast essay/paragraph about the two stories. 
    • Share the following words with students and how they are key words that are used in comparing and contrasting two or more things.
      • Comparing words: both, alike, similar, the same, just like, also, too, as well as
      • Contrasting words: different, but, however, while, unlike, on the other hand, in contrast, although
    • Hand out paper and have the students write their response using the key words and the following questions to guide their writing.
      • What is the theme of each of the stories? What are the similarities and differences?
      • How are the characters the same or different? 
      • Are there plot similarities and differences in the stories?
      • Where is the setting of each of these stories? 
    • Use the students’ response papers as an assessment.


    • The arts, especially the visual arts and performance arts, provide excellent potential for lesson plan extensions. 
    • Contact a local storyteller and invite them to your class. Contact can be made through the tribe, your district's Title VI Indian Education program, connections within your school community or through the Utah Division of Arts and Museum Cultural presenter/Teaching artist roster. Give yourself plenty of time to arrange for a storyteller.
    • Read other stories from this literacy project. They can be found on the UEN American Indian Resources landing page. 
    • Using the vocabulary words have students through creative movement embody the meaning of each of the words.
    • Use the story as an introduction to taking responsibility for one’s decisions or the importance of following directions. 

    Dovie Thomason- Native storyteller


    Use the following questions to guide an informal assessment of comparing and contrasting:

    • Does the written response convey understanding of compare and contrast ideas?
    • Did the student support their response with text evidence? 
    • Does the written response use key words for comparing and contrasting?

    Use the following questions to guide your assessment of cultural learning?

    • Can the student show on a map approximately where the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation are located?
    • Can the student relate two ways the tribes are similar and two ways they are different from one another? 

    Additional Resources

    • Our Elders Storytelling and Oral Traditions lesson plan. Learn about storytelling, listen to stories told by Native storytellers. 
    • What is Tribal Sovereignty?- watch the video to help sovereignty and the importance of it to Native Americans. Please preview and decide what you would like to share with students. 
    • Give students an opportunity to listen to a modern day story by reading the book, "Forever Cousins." This book brings Native Americans into the present and continues to share the importance of family and community.