"Who were the first people to live where we live now?” That’s the question that kicked off the expedition and led first graders to study the early Haudenosaunee – the “People of the Longhouse.” Students learned more about how these early woodland people relied on natural resources for food, shelter, and clothing. But as they gathered more information and encountered modern-day Haudenosaunee people, students were dismayed that many sources perpetuated the stereotypes that native peoples no longer exist or that they still live today the same way they lived centuries ago. Through a partnership with the Rochester Museum and Science Center, first graders embarked on a project to interview people of Haudenosaunee descent and add a new installation to the museum’s Native People’s exhibit sharing ways Haudenosaunee culture continues to thrive and grow today.
Students also considered:
- How can we help educate museum visitors about Native Americans today and prevent stereotypes?
- What was life like for Haudenosaunee people long ago? How do we know?
- How do natural resources help people get what they need?
- How is Haudenosaunee life different today? How is it the same?
- How do interviewers learn about their subjects?
- How do writers make their writing more compelling for their audience?
This work is modeled on professional museum panels in its formatting, size, design, and structure. Students looked at real-world models and used this to develop a criteria list together of what their panels should look like. They also solicited feedback from outside experts (museum director of exhibits, museum graphic designer) and audience that matters (interview subjects).
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail in the drawings
- Excellent use of outside experts for both information
- Illustrates a complex project that had a role for each student depending on their comfort level.
Common Core State Standards
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