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Introducing the Topic
Discuss which Indians were native to your state. We live in New Jersey so our project was geared toward the Lenape Indians. Cover the Indian tribes way of life. What did they eat? How did they survive? How did they view the land and the animals? Make this project as educational for your students as possible. Give them some computer time to research the Indians they will be doing their report on.
It's Project Time
Create a list of instructions for your students and print them out. This way the student will be clear as to what should be included in the village and the parents will know how to help their children. Most parents will need to purchase some items for the project.
- This village needs to be 3 dimensional. That means whatever you use to put your pieced on needs to be thick and sturdy. You can use a piece of wood you may have around the house or a thick piece of cardboard.
- Include a river. Rivers were essential for the Indian's survival. It doesn't matter if you paint the river, color the river, or use some sort of blue cloth to create the river. That is where each student's individuality comes in. Indians used canoes so there should be one somewhere near the river. My daughter made her canoe out of brown clay. You can also make one out of wood or use a toy canoe.
- Include a garden where the women and children grew their vegetables. You can buy little vegetables. The best time to get some little pumpkins, apples, and berries is Halloween and Thanksgiving time. Craft stores have them in abundance. If you don't have the money to buy any you can make them out of pieces of paper and just paint them.
- Research the type of home your Native Indians lived in and create some. My daughter made her's out of brown clay. I have seen some made out of toothpicks. Be creative, but remember it must be 3 dimensional and not just a painted picture.
- Make sure somewhere in the distance you include animals and a forest. Indians were hunters and they hunted their animals in the forest. They used all kinds of animals for food, clothing, and parts of their shelter.
- Include several Indians. There should be male, female, and Indian children in your village. You can buy some Indians or make some yourself.
- Add some other items associated with your tribe of Indians. Bows and arrows, Axes, weaved baskets, and campfires should all be considered. We even had a little pot hanging over the campfire.
Decide ahead of time how many points each of the above aspects should account for.
Assessment & Tips
Make sure the total equals 100 points. You can give children an added 5-10 points for creativity if warranted.
Bring in some extra items in case there are some children in the class who can not afford to do this project at home. It will give them a little encouragement and help make them feel more comfortable about doing the project.
Let the parents know that many little figures can be purchased at craft stores. We got all of our Indians and animals from the craft store as well as the campfire, axe, basket, vegetables, and clay.