Exploring other Cultures: Indigenous Peoples in the Americas
Wampum Bead Projects (Projects can follow on consecutive weeks)
A group project that inspires sharing and team building
Elementary school and Middle school age appropriate
Vocabulary: Pattern, repetition, jewelry making
Materials: Plastic containers, fishing line, plastic tubing, scissors
- Read https://www.nativetech.org/wampum/wamphist.htm
- Shell beads in the Northeast have been found that are 4500 years old. These shell beads were difficult to make using a stone drill to form and were used for trade within ceremonial contexts, in part for the connections of shell with water and its life giving properties.
- Students each get a section of different color tubing to cut into certain size wampum beads which they each place in a cup or plate
- Students trade beads
- Demonstrate pattern
- Students create a pattern on plate
- Students knot one end of fishing line with a bead (can be prepped in advance) and string beads on fishing line.
- Students knot other end of fishing line with a bead then tie both ends together
Opportunity for Discussion and play:
- How does this project inspire sharing and team building?
- What is trade?
- Do you ever exchange products or services?
- Why do countries foster trade?
- What are trade embargoes?
- What are the pros and cons of using money versus wampum?
- What makes your necklace special?
- Will you keep or give away your necklace?