Exploring other Cultures: Indigenous Peoples in the Americas

Tent and Canoe Projects (Projects can follow on consecutive weeks)

A group project that inspires sharing and team building and is age appropriate for pre-school through elementary school.

Vocabulary: Pattern, pictographs, diorama, landscape, cone shape

Materials: Indigenous Peoples in the Americas Plains tribes pictograph handout or for woodland homes reference: http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/conn.river/whiteb.html, manila paper, paper scrap, construction paper, stapler, glue, markers, colored pencils or crayons, and scissors.

Tent Directions:

  1. Students build cut tent shape.
  2. Use pictographs (images that represent words) to decorate tent or draw bark lines.
  3. Roll and staple.
  4. Fold entrance door flap open.
  5. Put onto brown or green paper.
  6. Add people, campfires stream, and other elements to make a 3-dimensional scene.

Canoe Directions:

  1. Cut from template or precut for preschool youth. Staple each end of canoe.
  2. Fold and glue seats for canoe.
  3. Add figures and paddles in boat.
  4. Add nets, rods, spears for boat, and fish, turtles, oysters, clams, and shellfish in water.
  5. Additional camps can be made by adding separate pieces of paper.

*Canoe project is especially appropriate for Fishtown, John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, and satellite schools

Opportunity for discussion and play:

  • Students discuss the homes they created.
  • Students research local Lenape tribe (they did not use tents but instead lived in wigwams): http://www.native-languages.org/children-books.htm
  • Students discuss what it might have been like for the Lenape versus western Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.

Read Lenape legends: http://www.native-languages.org/lenape-legends.htm

Preschool level books to read aloud: Pushing up the Sky, Native American History for Kids: With 21 Activities, The Rough Face GirlThe Legend of Bluebonnet, All Our Relatives: Traditional Native American Thoughts about Nature

The Lenape (or Delaware) are considered by other Indian cultures the eldest of the eastern tribes. Learn more: http://www.bigorrin.org/lenape_kids.htm

More books on Indigenous People in the Americas Culture referenced here by grade:

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/17-18/research-project-life-native-american/

Indigenous People in the Americas Culture Websites:

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian’s NMAI site provides an in-depth overview of their collection, including teaching resources, materials, and links to other sites.

NativeCulture.com

A comprehensive portal site for Indigenous Peoples in the Americas resources on the Internet.

The Anasazi Heritage Center, Dolores, Colorado

Provides teacher resources on the Ancestral Puebloan (or Anasazi) culture and other Indigenous Peoples in the Americas cultures in the Four Corners region.

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, WA

Features an exhibit, resources, traveling study collections, and Teacher Guide on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas Basketry and Indigenous Peoples in the Americas cultures of the Pacific Northwest region.

Internet Public Library

Includes lessons on Pueblo pottery.

Indigenous Peoples in the Americas Toys and Games

Interactive games from Indigenous Peoples in the Americas cultures.

Indigenous Peoples in the Americas Book List (PDF)

Reading list on present-day Indigenous Peoples in the Americas developed by the International Reading Association.

Indian Country Today

Online version of leading Indigenous Peoples in the Americas publication in the United States. Includes topics of current interest or concern to Native peoples.

Boston Children’s Museum

Includes guidelines and 10 basic questions for evaluating books, activities, materials on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.

Map of American Indian Reservations (PDF)

Map from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Pics4Learning: Native Americans

This site makes over 400 images of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas culture available for students and teachers. Includes images of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas dress, art, artifacts, and more.  The site has given teachers and students permission to use all of the images in their work.

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