Native American Unit Study


Remember the Little House on the Prairie summer we had last year?  The one where we made our own little house, painting, decorating and making furniture, whilst learning all sorts of skills along the way?

aaa little house on the prairie old fashioned photo

I had been pondering a Native American unit in the same vein, but it seemed such a vast topic, I didn’t really know where to begin or in deed how to do it justice.  That was, until I happened upon these books:


They have been pitched as the Laura Ingalls alternative to Native American history, and I began wondering if we could somehow use them as the basis of a unit study.  After flicking through, I realised they were based upon the Ojibwe Tribe of Northern American and Canada.  I liked the idea of focusing on one tribe, rather than lumping all Native Americans as one people, which I imagine is a bit like saying all Europeans are culturally similar.  I thought, maybe if we focused on one tribe we could dig a bit deeper and really discover the essence of what it meant and means to be a part of the Ojibwe tribe of Native Americans.  As I researched I found many resources based solely on the Ojibwe tribe (I will share these over the next few weeks).  Slowly I began to collect them and make my plans.

This would be a unit which would take us from September up until Christmas and would include all five children, as did our Little House study.  However, it would not be based around a wigwam which we would build outside.  This time we decided to make a dolls Wigwam using our Non-American-American Girl Dolls!  Argos sells dolls of a similar ilk and size to the American Girl Doll for only £20.  We will use these dolls to tell the story of the Ojibwe tribe as portrayed in the Birch Bark House series.  The hope is to create a skills based learning program as we did last summer but this time on a much smaller scale.

We plan on making our own doll sized Birch Bark wigwam; making traditional clothes for our dolls; cooking traditional food and using skill based learning to furnish the wigwam.  The children will also make their own dressing up clothes, study Ojibwe art as well as the legends passed down over the generations and much, much more.  I will probably make this study a little more academic, expecting some research and writing from the older children.  This will be our version of project based work come unit study as per my post yesterday.

We are all excited to be away from the middle ages for a while, after all a change is as good as a rest.  We intend to return to the renaissance after Christmas.  But until then this blog is going to be inundated with Native American posts.  Enjoy!