Home on the Range

This term our topic is entitled Home on the Range. In it we will be exploring the history and geography of the "Wild West". We will be learning about the lifestyle and culture of Native Americans, settlers, cowboys and cowgirls. We have already learned about the difference between wigwams and teepees and between the Woodland tribes and Plains tribes. 

Our role play area

We have enjoyed having a teepee village as our role play area during the first part of this term. As well as two teepees (one kindly loaned by Koa and his family), we had a fire, cooking pots, babies and dressing up clothes. Lurking in the background were prickly cactus plants, snakes and a buffalo. We have now brought the role play area inside to be the home of American settlers, complete with a range, a dining table and a writing table. We had great fun piling up all the furniture and belongings as if we were about to set off for the West in a wagon. Heavy items went at the bottom, then the lighter items and finally food, pots, dishes, clothes and bedding for the journey.

Book Day

We had a very enjoyable time on our delayed Book Day. The children wore wonderful costumes and many brought in their favourite book. In the morning. we worked in groups and discussed pictures from a mystery story, trying to work out what was happening. We then wrote and illustrated our own Native American counting books. In P.E. in the afternoon, we did a movement lesson to the musical story of Peter and the Wolf. Everyone loved being wolves! At the end of the day, parents and grandparents came in to share stories with the children.

Topic Homework 

We are enjoying the different activities on the Topic Homework grid. Making a dream catcher is very popular, as is designing bandanas for a cowboy or cowgirl. Several children have made teepees and another created a whole teepee village.

In addition, one member of class  brought in his toy teepee and Native American people. Another experimented with making paint from leaves and spices. Another brought in a drum  and we all decided that it would have been made from animal skin, with porcupine quills decorating the sides and a tree branch section as the handle. 

Building teepees

We have enjoyed finding out the difference between wigwams and teepees this week. (Wigwams are more permanant structures made of bent wooden poles, covered with reeds, bark or animal skin. Teepees are more temporary tents, made from about 12 long poles and a covering of animal hide). We had a go at building a large teepee together in the polytunnel and then tried to make mini ones with cocktail sticks. We practised dismantling and then reassembling them, just as the Plains tribes would have done, and we realised that we were getting quicker and more skillful.