Seminole Indian Unit Study

We’ve been slowly meandering through some learning experiences on Seminole Indians over the past couple of months, nothing fancy, just an hour or two here and there, but I really like some of the stuff that we’ve done and wanted to share some ideas.

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We’re at the start of a slow journey though American History.  At the rate we’re going, it might take a few years!  I’m indebted to Guest Hollow’s American History timelines and book recommendations as a jumping off point for our own choices for our history unit studies.

Books We Read

Night Bird: A Story of the Seminole Indians by Kathleen V. Kudlinski–This book is a very nice tale of a young Seminole Indian girl who is having to make the choice between staying in Florida with part of her clan or going to Oklahoma with her parents as part of the Seminole relocation.  My six year old daughter loved it.  My 8 year old son didn’t.

We did realize after reading Night Bird that the Seminole tribe was divided into different family clans, and we colored a clan wheel that we got the graphics for here

The Journey of Wayne Drop to the Everglades–This is actually a Florida state publication that discusses the water cycle and water’s journey through the everglades.  It was a nice piece to acquaint us with the geography of Florida and the idea of water travelling from place to place.

We actually used Wayne Drop for two activities:  (1)  writing pretend stories of being rain drops (2) experimenting with what the water cycle looks like.

Our water cycle experiment
Our water cycle experiment

Osceola: Seminole war chief by Wyatt Blasingame.  This book is out of print, but I highly recommend it.  It’s a great look into the life of one of the most important Seminole Indians in the history of the Seminole wars.  Both kids loved it!  We used this book to do a character profile of Osceola and to begin a history timeline for our American History studies.  The coloring page in the upper right hand corner is from Indian Tribes of North America Coloring Book and is actually about tribal chief Billy Bowlegs.

Osceola
The Seminole by Liz Sonneborn.  This is a standard non fiction book that looks at the history of the Seminole Indian and what happened to the parts of the tribe that moved to Oklahoma and what happened to the part of the tribe that remained in Florida.  It was a good factual book, and had great pictures.

Our Activities

We based several of our activities out of the book History Pockets: Native Americans by Evan Moor Company.  The aim of this volume is 1st-3rd grade, but it is appropriate for up to about 6th grade.  From this book, we made Seminole headdresses.

headdress

We also made hominy using the instructions in the history pocket book.  It was long and tedious, but fun.  It gave us a peek into how much work really went into the life of people 150 years ago just to eat 🙂

hominy

We learned that Indian women of the tribe often wore up to 300 beaded necklaces, so we were inspired to make our own necklaces out of yarn and colorful pony beads.

Rose in headdress and beaded necklaces
Rose in headdress and beaded necklaces

We also tried our hand at making a chickee or Seminole summer house.  We simply tied and/or hot glued wooden dowels together and covered the roof with fake grass.  It turned out a little wobbly.  It’s living proof that some of my craft ideas just don’t work out right 🙂

chickee

We also got the idea out of More Than Moccasins to make corncob dolls wearing traditional Seminole clothing.  This was a great idea, and great fun too.  However, it led to a lot of tears when our dog started running off with the corncobs and eating them!!

corn cob dolls

We also received aGiant Gingerbread Boy Cookie Pan for Christmas.  Firecracker has decided that we should make a cookie person for every historical figure we study this year.  We started with Osceola.  He was heavily beaded.

gingerbread seminole

 

We also decided to pick up a science unit and do it with the Seminole study.  (In fact, because of some diversions, we’re actually still working on the science unit.)  Since the kids went to Florida this summer with my parents and brought home around 200 seashells, we decided on Amanda Bennett’s Sunny Seashells.

I guess that about does it for our voyage through Seminoles and the Seminole Wars.  The next Indian tribe up for us is the Chippewa/Ojibwa.

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