Saturday, September 10, 2011

Native American Dioramas

Well, school is now in full swing! My favorite subject to teach is Social Studies! I just love everything about it! I think my enthusiasm is contagious to my students as well. They get all excited about history just because I do! In 5th grade, we cover American history from the early Native Americans to the Civil War. I love to do projects with my students that will hopefully make the history stick in their brains! So here is a project that is one of my favs...

We have just started our Native American lessons this week. They are all into it. Beginning on Monday, we will be creating Native American dioramas. I have been doing this project for a couple of years. Each year, I add a little more detail to it. Here are some pictures from what my students created last year...

The details...

1. I break my students into 5 groups:

2. Each group then researches what the houses and geography would look like for the region. They research specific tribes as well as just the area in general. There are examples in our textbooks as well. 

3. Groups then bring supplies from home or find them around the classroom and outdoors. They then work together to create the house inside of a shoe box. Some groups get really into it, others just quickly throw something together. That is, until they see how much effort others are putting forth, and they try again. I wish I had more pictures to show you... I will take some more next week and post them as my current class works on their dioramas. I give the students about 45-60 minutes in class to work on these for about 3-4 days... depending on how they are doing and how much time they need.

4. This year, I have added another aspect to the project. I got the idea from a dear friend that went to Williamsburg with me! Each group is going to be given a folder that they need to include a map and a description of their region they have written.  I look forward to that part of the project too.

5. I grade the projects according to a rubric. I just created the rubric in a website that lets you create one for free. Here is a link to the rubric if you want it... 

Hope this sparks some ideas for you! Let me know if you have any questions!

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