Language Arts/Social Studies/Art
Students enhance their respect for the practical know-how of early Americans
by preparing an instructional poster for a skill that would have been useful
during colonial times.
What You Need
- Reference books with information about early colonial life or Native
- Paper or poster board
- Art supplies
What to Do
- Divide the class into discussion teams to brainstorm a list of skills
that early Americans, such as colonial settlers or Native Americans
needed in order to survive. Suggest that teams consult reference books
and textbooks to learn how different groups provided for basic needs,
such as food, clothing, shelter, child-rearing, and transportation.
Then break down those activities into specific skills. Lists might include:
building a canoe/making tools
gathering food/making weapons
growing food/preparing/cooking food
making clothing/training animals
- Bring the class together to make a master list. Then have individuals
(or partners) choose one skill/activity to research. Students will then
use the information they find to create a how-to poster that explains
how to carry out the activity. Posters should be illustrated with drawings,
photocopies of pictures, or diagrams, and include explanatory text and
labels, as necessary. A poster on building a canoe, for example, might
show a sequence of steps, such as finding a proper log, hollowing it
out, and preparing the exterior. Students could use a cut-away diagram
to show the canoe's structure. Students could also include drawings
of the tools needed.
- Encourage students to give a brief oral presentation of the activity
on their posters. They might also discuss the process they followed
in their research, how they chose which steps to illustrate, or which
steps were difficult to show.
- Display the posters in your room or in some other public space. Group
them by subject or culture. Choose volunteer student guides to learn
as much as possible about each grouping. Then invite other classes or
families to visit the exhibit, moving small groups around the room,
asking questions of the guides. You may wish to rotate the guides so
that each student takes part.
- Invite a community member who practices one of the poster skills
to talk about his or her work to the class. Possibilities include: a
weaver, farmer, cook, wilderness hiker, archer, seamstress, etc.
- You may be able to arrange a class visit to a living museum or craftperson's
studio to watch traditional craftspeople and other workers in action.
Education Place | Site Index
Copyright © 1997-2002 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.