Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Early American Unit Plan

Like all of our unit plans or learning endeavors, this one had a general plan, to gain knowledge about the early Americans (400-900 AD). I planned to study this for about 2 weeks and then move onto a science unit. Well, two months, one surgery, one hole in the water main, three holidays, four somewhat unplanned vacations and two flu-ridden children later, we finished the unit, or at least ended it. Although the plan in the beginning was very vague, it turned out to be loads of fun and educational, too. Here is what we did, but remember, it was spread out over 2 months.

Day 1 Read Wild and Wooly Mammoths by Aliki. Discuss the world at this time and how early Americans came in the first place. Read First Came the Indians by M.J. Wheeler. This was a good introduction to Indian lifestyles across America.

Day 2 Read Before You Came This Way by Byrd Baylor. This book introduces rock art of the Southwestern tribes and how you might interpret it. Read Native American Rock Art: Messages from the Past by Yvette LaPierre

Day 3 Continue reading from Native American Rock Art. Check on line about Roche-A-Cri State Park. Read about the rock art found there. We looked through our pictures from when we were there a couple of years ago. Read Anasazi by Leonard Everett Fisher.

Day 4 Finish Rock Art book. Make salt dough, create bowls, let dry and paint next week. Making the dough was fun, however, the bowls didn't stay in a bowl shape. They gradually fell into plate shapes. Still, all the kids had so much fun playing with the dough and especially the feel of their skin when the project was done.

Day 5 Read The Village of Blue Stone by Stephen Trimble. Color a map of the 4-state area (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado) where the Anasazi lived. Make a story stick. Check out turquoise in the Rocks and Minerals book.

Day 6 Read One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor. Read Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor. We skipped painting the salt dough creations. Lou kept hers on her dresser and the rest we threw to the chickens who pecked at the hard dough.

Day 7 Make cuffs and anklets for the boys and fancy dance bustle for the girls. Make headbands for all. Dance to Songs of the Spirit CD. The day happened to be chilly, but that didn't stop the kids from heading outside all decked out in Indian attire to play in the woods until lunch.

Day 8 Try shell etching. It worked well, but the finished projects never made it into necklace or magnet form. The shells are still setting on the kitchen counter. Read selected stories from Earthmaker's Tales.

Day 9 Make baby doll cradle board and play throw sticks. This game turned out to be a winner and we all enjoyed it so, we played it a few times so we a had a chance to play one another.

Day 10+ We made a variety of Early American foods that might have been popular in the Southwest. Over the course of a week we tried: fry bread, wild rice, squash, real-in-the-kettle-popcorn, fruit leather and peanut butter.

All projects in bold came from the book, More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life by Laurie Carlson.

*I would love to make links for all these books, but I haven't found an easy way to import the entire web address, without copying it onto paper and then typing in each one. Anyone have any tips?