Storm King Art Center
1 MUSEUM ROAD
New Windsor, NY 12553
6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,9th Grade,10th Grade,11th Grade,12th Grade
While hiking, students hike learn to identify local tree species and to select an appropriate location for a wicwam. They cut saplings, strip the bark, and lash them together to create a frame and then cover it to complete the structure. The class also may imagine and/or role-play a piece of the life of a Wappinger tribe member. This lesson can be done on school grounds if hiking trips are not possible.
Renewable resource, Hardwood, Softwood, Sustainability
Suggested Time Frame(s)
- 1 or more class periods for tree identification and wicwam siting hikes.
- 3 or more 1 Â½-hour class periods to construct wicwam depending on size
If you are not familiar with Native American culture and history, you may want to do some research before teaching this lesson. A good place to start is Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian. Published by the museum in 2007, the book's well-researched, thoughtful, and informative answers are grouped into categories such as identity, origins and histories, popular myths, clothing, housing, food and health, ceremony and ritual, animals and land, language and education, love and marriage, and arts. Paper: $15.
Prior to first hike give students a homework assignment to list environmental resources and features that a Wappinger person -- before the 1600's -- might consider when choosing a location for a fishing encampment. Then, lead a class discussion using the lists. Throughout this project, middle or high school students can be assigned to read some or all of The Last Algonquin.
Hike the area where you'll be building the wicwam, stopping often to identify local tree species. If you can't take a trip, consider building the wicwam on school grounds.
Conduct a lesson on tool safety. Students will need to know how to use hatchets, bow saws, draw knives, tree pruners, and -- if age and group appropriate -- pocket knives. Stress that a circle of safety must be maintained at all times or tools will be removed.
Construct your wicwam. If possible, students cut saplings with hatchets, draw knives, bow saws, and pruners, but teacher will probably need to provide saplings. We used mostly maple saplings of 1-2" diameter at their bases and at least 10' tall, though even large or rigid or softwood species can be used for some horizontal frame members.
Students use draw knives, linoleum cutting knives, pocketknives, or sharp edges of rocks to strip bark; this helps the wood stay dry and not rot. Students lash frame together: first pairs of upright posts, then end posts, then horizontal posts. Students cover wicwam, temporarily or permanently, with painted heavy-duty canvas, tarp with grommets, animal hides, or wool blankets.
What Should Students Know At The End of This Lesson
See essential questions and understandings above
What Should Students Be Able To Do at the End of This Lesson
Construct a wicwam
Storm King Art Center features Andy Goldsworthy's "Storm King Wall" and a visit makes a nice extension to this lesson. The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, April through November. Admission is discounted for educational groups of 15 that reseerve in advance. Admission includes a guided tour. You must schedule at least two weeks in advance and arrive together in a bus or van. Call the education secretary, 845-534-3115, ext. 110, for reservations or more information.
Storm King Art Center celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature. Five hundred acres of landscaped lawns, fields, and woodlands feature postwar sculptures by internationally renowned artists. Sky and land define the exhibition space and the Hudson Highlands' undulating profiles surround the grounds creating a panorama integral to the viewing experience. The sculptures are affected by changes in light and weather, so no two visits are the same.