Sunday, November 13, 2011
Problems in Plymouth - The Tepee vs. The Wigwam
We finished up reading the sixth book in The Imagination Station series by Marianne Hering and Marshall Younger, this weekend. It's the first book in the series in which I've noticed glaring historical inaccuracies. Of course, that might be due to the other books we've been reading at the same time...
...such as Bonnie Shemie's Houses of bark - tipi, wigwam and longhouse...
...or The Wigwam and the Longhouse by Charlotte and David Yue, which inspired the older girls to build a pipe cleaner wigwam, earlier in the week.
When the time traveling cousins from The Imagination Station headed to Plymouth, were captured by Indians, and found themselves being held in a tepee, and not just a conical, bark covered tepee-like wigwam, but a full blown, hide covered, tent-type tepee, we were a little thrown off. Then, when they met an Indian "chief" in a full feather war bonnet, we were dumbfounded.
I'm not sure why the authors would have gone to enough trouble to research the lives of the Pilgrims, to the point of knowing they did not always dress in black, or wear buckles on their hats, but then present them as living near native tribes more like the Lakota Sioux, than the eastern tribes the Pilgrims would have actually encountered. The inaccuracy seems strange for a history based series.
We decided to build a quick model tepee, to compare with our wigwam, by lashing three pipe cleaners, with blobs of clay on the bottoms for stability, together into a tripod.
We started to add additional "poles", but discovered the pipe cleaners were too thick for the job, so we just stuck with the original three...
...and moved on to making a covering, by cutting a crumpled, semi-circle out of packing paper, with a radius slightly smaller than our pipe cleaners.
We wrapped the straight edge of the semi-circle around the pipe cleaner frame, to form a cone, taping it in the back...
...and cutting a slit, to make a door flap in the front.
It's not at all the way a real tepee would be covered, but it was good enough to give the children the idea of the simplicity of the "tent" design - perfect for the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains, and nothing like the somewhat permanent dwellings of the more settled, eastern tribes.
NativeAmericanLanguages.org has an excellent, picture filled page, comparing and contrasting Native American dwellings, and building styles, that we found especially helpful. You might want to check it out. Or, click over to the What My Child Is Reading link-up at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns to find out what other families have been reading and are recommending, this week.
It's great to be a homeschooler.