Monday, February 20, 2017

The Return of Awesome History: Native Americans

It was epic!  No, just kidding, it was awesome!

So this is Awesome American History (round 1).  We are using  The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong  as our core book.

We read about three chapters (stories) on our own, and then we meet up to  do an art activity, an active activity, and a themed snack.

I had intended to do the whole book in two semesters, but that meant we had to read four or five chapters a week, and we ended up feeling rushed.

Since part of the idea is to be able to branch off and look more deeply into some of the historical times,we decided to spread the book over three semesters instead.

Anyway,  we started out with chapters featuring Native Americans, Roanoke, and Pocahontas. This was pages 1-13, and years 1565-1607.
 Our art activity was making a totem pole.  All the kids colored and cut out the animals and faces (quickly drawn by Shelli: it helps to have an artist on staff!).  I suspect you could find these as printables online.

The kids also used some as hats, and then made their own living totem pole.

Kid ideas put the awesome into Awesome History!

For a snack we had cornbread and parched corn. 


Parched corn is sweet corn dried in the oven tossed with a tiny bit of butter and salt.

Warning: addictive!

The active activity was an Aztec ball game. 

It's kind of like soccer in that you can't use your hands, and kind of not like soccer in that you can't let the ball touch the floor.

If that sounds fiendishly difficult, yes.

The "goal" was to get the ball through a vertical stone hoop, but...good luck with that.  If anyone ever managed it, they automatically won the game.

Most of the time the game was about not dropping the ball, and two good teams could keep the ball in the air for an hour.

Incidentally, some historians believe that the losing teams would be sacrificed (the game was played on the field in front of the sacrificial temple (pyramid).  Other historians believe the winning team was sacrificed, since being selected as a sacrifice was an honor.

We decided to start out easy and used an air filled balloon.
And not sacrifice any of the players.

But it was pretty awesome, anyway!

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