Anasazi Cliff Dwellings

The Ancient Pueblo People, or the Anasazi, are the cultural group often recognized as the ancestors to the modern day Pueblo people.

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They were a populous and thriving civilization that resided in cliff dwellings, comprised of adobe bricks, and constructed atop mesas, or against the edges of natural caves as the bases of canyons.

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To help solidify our understanding of this fascinating civilization, we created our very own Anasazi village!

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As your little ones participated in this activity, they were given several opportunities to converse with their classmates, and discuss the best way to manipulate their three dimensional habitats.

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Creating  historical structures provides a medium for learning that younger learners enjoy.

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These environments allow them to tell a story, stimulate inquiry and depict reality!

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L is for Longhouse

The Wampanoag tribe shared the first Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims. After arriving in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims were exhausted, following a two month voyage from England.

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Being severely weakened, many pilgrims did not survive.  They were unfamiliar with the harsh weather of the New World and relied on the Wampanoag Indians to teach them the land.

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This tribe combined bark and other plant materials to make their homes, called longhouses.  The inside of these longhouses had a dirt floor. The dirt permitted the use of a small fire to keep warm.

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To convey the complex history of the Wampanoag Indians, we created our very own longhouses.

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We first discussed the construction of the longhouse during circle time. Students then built two-dimensional longhouses out of craft sticks. Following, your little ones used flower foam, sticks, and wicker planters to create three-dimensional longhouse structures.

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Burlap Teepees

Young children are fascinated by the many dwelling places of the various American Indian tribes, and love to recreate the things they learn through dramatic play.

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What they enjoy more, however, is creating the materials that they use for the imaginary worlds they create. For this activity, we decorated teepees. Following their creation, your little one participated in small world dramatic play. Doing so contributes to their development in several ways.

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For one thing, it helps them work together toward a common goal. As they played with their teepees, they combined their worlds. Working together  like this teaches teamwork, fuels creative thinking, and also exercises your little one’s ability to use make believe as a means to integrate the information they have been introduced to at school.

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Lily Pad Math

With fly swatters and paper lily pads, we practiced counting with this exciting math activity! Each child was given three lily pads with flies drawn on them. Various numbers were affixed to each fly. We initiated this activity with a discussion of the numbers involved, and then clapped the amount of each.  Your budding mathematician was then shown a card with a number on it. They were then directed to hit their “flies” with the amount displayed on the card.  This provided a forum for talking about “more” and “less”, counting to nine, concepts such as adding and subtracting, and more vocabulary associated with the frog! By relating mathematical concepts to things that children are naturally curious about, such as animals, they are more engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn!

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Tadpole Cucumbers

Throughout the week, we have been talking about the life cycle of the frog – from its transformation as an egg to a tadpole, a tadpole with two legs to a froglet, and its final progression to becoming an adult frog. To foster an understanding of the various life cycles, your little one combined cucumbers, raisins, and pretzels as a means to create their very own amphibians!  When children construct their own version of recently acquired material, they learn invaluable lessons that stay with them throughout their lives. As they mix their ingredients, and see their creation come to life, the sense of ‘I did it’ is a very important lesson they learn. As they receive the credit for their creation, they become proud of their actions, and have increased self-regard as a result. Lastly, working together encourages creativity, bonding, planning, thinking, and time management.

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Pond Habitat and Sensory Play

Using paper lily pads, leaves, water, plastic frogs, and “frog eggs”, we created a pond habitat for some of our favorite amphibians! We discussed the life cycle of the frog, where different frogs live, what they eat, and how they survive within their slippery environments! Sensory play allows children to form mental images about what they are seeing. Adults already do this naturally, but in young children, it is still developing. Combining water, “frog eggs”, and the lily pads also provides a forum for the scientific exploration of cause and effect. Your little ones discovered that the vulnerable frog eggs can be hidden by creating nests from foliage as they enjoyed manipulating and creating little “houses” for their favorite tadpoles and frogs. Lastly, prosocial interactions are fostered as children discuss and share their experiences with one another.

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