Fifth-graders learn about Native American culture

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:54

    BYRAM-Students in Elisa Nesnay's fifth-grade class at the Byram Intermediate School began the school year with a unit on American Indians. Children traced the routes of early man as they migrated from Asia to North America, and created charts to illustrate the probable causes of this migration. This was followed by study of the various tribes that later settled throughout the continent. Students read origin stories and American-Indian folk tales to gain a better understanding of the cultures. They created their own tales, and, using pictographs, displayed them on imitation buffalo hides. They designed Indian spirit masks, much like those used in traditional Indian ceremonies to appease the gods. In addition, they made totem poles depicting major events in each child's life. As art activities, bookmarks were woven, so that students could experience this ancient Indian craft, and Kachina dolls were designed. "Students have truly gained an appreciation of American Indian culture and their contributions to our country," said Ms. Nesnay. "This unit will set the groundwork for the year's exciting study of American history."