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NMAI

Fourth Grade Field Trip to the NMAI

  |   Aaron School, Elementary School, Lower School, Special Programs

On Wednesday, April 5, Aaron School fourth graders in the Willow Room went on a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian. A portion of the curriculum in fourth grade covers the study of Native American nations, more specifically their ways of obtaining food (hunting, gathering, fishing, farming), types of shelters, roles of men and women, regions of the United States, etc. This year, in order to expand on the curriculum, the Willow Room class is working on a Native American research project where each student is studying a specific tribe and that tribe’s way of life. The goal is for students to understand different tribes’, or nations’, ways of life, as well as compare and contrast Native American communities with our present lives in New York City.

 

Ceiling

 

During the museum visit, the Willow Room focused on Native American nation crafts and games. Native Americans did not generally use games for fun or leisure activities, but rather as endeavors to help them develop survival skills. For example, different nations invented games and activities to help advance hand-eye coordination and strength, practice with throwing and aim, and to reinforce skills necessary for hunting. The museum tour guides provided the group with a demonstration of several games, in addition to offering students the chance to play them themselves! Fourth graders participated in ring and pin; hoop and pole; ball and triangle; wheel and dart; stickball, now known as lacrosse; and used bolas, which are an Inuit weapon used by the Eskimo people to twirl and throw at animals to entangle their legs and then capture them. Native communities used various materials to make their games, tools, and weaponry, such as seal fur, deerskin, bone, sinew, sticks, pine needles, wood, buffalo hide, and animal fat.

 

William   

 

After participating in these activities, the Willow Room checked out various exhibits including Native fashion, Central American ceramics, and Native art. These exhibits gave students the opportunity to view traditional clothing, shoes, headdresses, jewelry, cradleboards, and rugs, in addition to pots, woven baskets, sculptures, and masks. Fourth graders were in awe of the incredible detail, designs, and beauty of the Native American historical artifacts! This field trip not only provided the Willow Room with the opportunity to apply the knowledge of their Native American research, but also to gain additional insight to Native American ways of life.