The First Native American People: Appreciating the Tribal Differences


We continued to use the same books as before:

Ribbet collagenatam1The children also had access to their laptops and therefore the internet for research purposes.  We used the map we had made previously, building on the knowledge we had gathered the day before: the painted map ready for labelling

The main reason for us doing such a large map was for the children to really see the vast difference in the different tribal areas.  I printed off a map of the Biomes of North America, which handily were divided very similarly to the tribal areas:

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We had a chat about why these different biomes would affect what their inhabitants lived in and wore, what gods they might have and their spirituality as well as the importance of being able to communicate between tribes who spoke different languages, not to mention different dialects within those languages.  As a note I did check my information on the map with how the biomes were likely to have been 500 years plus ago.  See here for information.  That said this was a quick one week study so I did not want to spend too much time on this particular part of the study and I could not find a simple depiction of how the land laid all those years ago.

T12 went to work on making a small, quick model of each type of house:


I always enjoy watching his imagination sparked and this was no exception.  Here are the abodes he chose to make:

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As he went along he popped them onto the map where they would have been mostly likely to have existed using the following map from the Make it! book:


And his houses on the map (prior to any labelling of map or homes):



He also wrote a lovely essay on the Native American homes:


Meanwhile L11 was researching communication between tribes.  She began at the beginning with cave paintings and pictographs.  She decided to make her own petroglyph copying some of the pictographs from the Chumash rock art:

Here she working on it, using some old brown envelope and paints:


And the final ‘petroglyph’:


She also looked into hand signals which were understood universally throughout the different tribes, deciding to ask her sister to take photos of her doing the hand signals:


These were Polaroid type photos and printed immediately from the camera:



She also wrote an essay on communication between tribes but I didn’t get a photo of it before it was cut up and stuck  on the board (more on that later) as well as using a Play Mobil figure and felt to demonstrate how smoke signals are made:


C11 made a great start on her topic of spirituality by making some plaster cast masks of Native American spirit masks using this kit:


She mixed the plaster and let it set in the molds:



After which she began painting them according to the patterns and colours given on the poster which came with the kit:



And here they are finished.  Her models are on the right with the pictures on the left:




She also wrote a fabulous essay on the religious beliefs of the Native Americans, but again I forgot to take a photo of it before sticking it on the board.  This is a little preview of some of it:


With all these hands on projects and essays we made up a presentation board and using this and the map the children gave a short presentation to my mum and to Gary.  But more about that tomorrow!

All Things Beautiful


  1. Looks like lots of fun! C’s spirit masks are beautiful. T is doing a great job of narrating. L looks like she is having lots of fun with the pictures. Seems this study is enjoyed by all. Fantastic! I am looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

  2. Love T’s little houses. That seems like a perfect way to group neighboring tribes together–by the type of houses they had…I’m going to have to share about the “Masks of the World” kit with Rose. She made a paper mache Cherokee Indian mask last fall, and I have a feeling she would love making some plaster ones.

    1. I loved his houses too. They were so simple and took no time at all yet when they were on the map they looked so cool!!
      I think I got the mask kit from Amazon a few years ago. We’ve certainly got a good deal of use out of it!

  3. This is incredible! Such fabulous work, as always, from the kids. The details included is truly impressive – everyone must be so proud! I’m curious as to whether T, with his affinity for herbs, has looked into the medicine wheel? Though I don’t know which tribes used those…

    1. Thanks Marie. We’ll be studying the medicine wheel in depth and I have also bought him an Ojibwe book of herbal medicine which I’m sure he will love!

  4. Wow! You really inspire me! I just finished a Native American theme with my 5 year old. You have so many great ideas! Beth

    1. We’re in a two bedroom house where the books take up more room than the furniture and people put together. There is no place or room (literally) for sentimentality. The children are so used to me tossing almost everything we do (after I’ve taken 101 photos, of course!)

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