Native Americans Unit: Tlingit + NW Coast :: Part 1

I wrote about our homeschooling days a bit back.  Now I’ll write a little more specific about what our Native American block has been looking like.  it’s been really fun, and thinking we would take a month or two, it has turned into a three-month block that we are all enjoying.  I will write this in two parts, because it’s been a lot of fun and we have lots of activities and photos to share.

I am basing, very loosely our studies in this book.  Mostly to see what tribes they focus on, from so many to study, and it’s our springboard to going deeper into whatever else we’d like to study.

That book besides the Tlingit doesn’t study any other tribe from the Northwest Coast, and living in Oregon, we wanted to study them a little more in depth.  So we did.  We spent another month studying the coastal tribes, as a group, trying to learn specifics of some of them, reading stories, myths and legends, learning about their art, and crafts and history.  So much to learn and read about.  We had a lot of fun.

We all liked the art, and the drawings that are so particular of these tribes.  So we did one project I found online on paper piecing a whale design.

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I drew a whale on white paper.

DSC_0005-smallI added a few sheets of construction paper, and cut them all together, so they all stayed in the whale shape.

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Then, Siena and Lucas each had a set of the whale of different colors.  They cut the whole set into pieces like a puzzle.  Making sure they keep track of ALL the pieces, and where they cut them from.  Once you cut them, the whale doesn’t look like such anymore and it’s very hard to make it make sense.  We learned that!

Then, they made a whale, with different pieces of different colors.  They were able to make quite a few whales, because there were 5 sheets of different colors.  They look really good we thought!  A fun project.

I’ve had a book of North American Indian Masks for many years.  Before I had kids.  And I never made the masks, until now.  The perfect time came.  It is a great book, because the masks are beautifully printed, full color on nice tick cardstock.  They are a little complicated, with the cutting of fine corners and thin pieces, but Lucas and Siena both did a great job.  With the folding makes them a little tricky sometimes, but makes a lot of difference looking much more real than flat (two-dimensional) ones.

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We also wanted to make totem poles since they are a very important part of the tribes in this area.  Beautiful, and really amazing work.  We read lots of books about them.  Fiction and non-fiction.  And we talked about how fun it would be to have a totem pole in our backyard, or maybe carve one in wood in a smaller scale.

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But we realized that there was so much to learn, so many other projects and fun activities, and we thought we needed to practice on simpler projects before tackling something like that.  So we decided to make a paper totem pole instead.

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I found these drawings online, of Native American’s designs, and it was so much fun to color them and cut them, and then make our own totem pole.

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2 thoughts on “Native Americans Unit: Tlingit + NW Coast :: Part 1

  1. Amy Young December 13, 2014 / 12:13 pm

    I enjoyed your story. I’m making a totem pole as a project as well.

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