Wednesday, September 2, 2009

US History: Native Americans!

We started off talking (and reading) a lot about different tribes of Native Americans. It's been an interesting study of how where you live determines how you live, especially since all these people came from the same place relatively recently (in human history).

Since how you eat (and get your food) is such a big part of how you live, we've been discussing the transition from hunters to hunter/gatherers to farmers. So, of course, we've been talking a lot about corn and yesterday, we made a field trip to the grocery store and bought some.

First we shucked the ears and made some corn husk dolls. OK, lots and lots of corn husk dolls. Klenda even started making tepees for them to live in. We talked about how the people who lived in tepees were nomads (that's why they lived in tents), which meant they traveled frequently (which meant they couldn't grow corn).

Then we cut the kernels off of some of the ears to make parched corn. Here are the fresh kernels.

Here they are, nicely dried, after a night in a low oven.

And here they are, fried in butter and salted.

After which they disappeared quickly!

After that, we searched for the native American clothing we had made three years ago. This was not a wholly wasted effort: I found 4 blankets actually woven by Native Americans. Ummm... They wore blankets when it was cold!

Then we made a tepee out of PVC pipes, string, a sheet, and two safety pins. It fell over the first time because I hadn't lashed the top together tightly enough: note to self, always wrap the cord around each pipe individually, then tie them together! The second time I also tried positioning the poles in various holes which the kids had dug in the yard over the past few years (here I had thought they were good for nothing but tripping me!).

The last time we did this I had bought a larger size pipe of PVC and cut lengths on a slant. I pounded them into the ground with a hammer, then slipped the poles into the larger pipes. That is the way to go if you want to keep it up for more than a few hours!

After lunch, we tried our hand at sand painting. We sketched the design with chalk, then poured the sand into the design. We used white play sand tinted (or not) with powdered tempra.

After that, Klenda expressed that the blankets didn't count as actual clothing so we traced a (made up) pattern on a tan sheet and she sewed it together herself! A landmark achievement, indeed! She then went on to fringe the edges. I must add that buying sheets when they are crazy cheap (like they are now during "dorm season") is a great source for fabric for costumes.

And then Zorg wanted to start making his moccasins. After making less than one, we discovered I had misunderstood the sizes for children. Oops!

We finished it anyway and discovered that it fit Choclo. Which means the ones for Leena will likely fit Oob. So, I'll just order more in the right size for Leena and Zorg, and everyone will have moccasins, right? Leena had another idea, "How about, you could have a baby girl, and they would fit her?" (No, this is not an announcement, just a crazy idea!)

Personally, I'm exhausted, but it was a heck of a fun day and my personal definition of high tide!

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