How to Build a Longhouse for a Third Grade School Project

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The study of Native Americans takes place in elementary school. In the third grade, students learn about Native American anthropology and archaeology. Build a longhouse into your studies of the Iroquois tribe. According to an article on the Iroquois Indian Museum website, "Historically, the longhouse was a multi-family residence containing the extended matrilineal family with a senior woman as the leader of a clan segment. It was physically and symbolically an important structure." Building a longhouse enables students to visualize the multi-family homes they read about in their Social Studies classes.

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    Cover your table or desk with two layers of newspaper to prepare your base. Place your shoe box on top of the paper and paint the shoe box with the tan paint. Allow it to dry before you apply a second coat. Cut one door on each end. Glue long twigs to the outside of the box.

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    Divide the box into four sections by drawing lines down the middle of the length and width of the box. Darken the line down the length of the box. Halfway between the line cutting the box length in half and the end of the box on the inside, glue a circle of small stones, the size of a milk jug lid to create a fireplace. Crumble up a 2-inch square of red tissue paper and glue it inside the fireplace to simulate fire.

    Fold the four squares of cardboard three times to form four sides. Tape each of the folded squares together and glue one on each side of each end for a bench.

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    Measure the length of the shoe box. Cut the large sheet of brown construction paper to match the length of the box. Two inches from the short side of the paper, begin making cuts that continue to the other side of the paper, every 1 1/2 inches. Stop 2 inches before the edge, leaving a margin of 2 inches on all four sides of the paper.

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    Cut 1-inch-wide strips the entire length of the second sheet of construction paper. Weave each strip through the slices on the first sheet of construction paper. Trim the edges so they are flush with the paper. Glue the ends to the margins. Glue the ends of the construction paper to the top of the shoe box. Tape to reinforce. You should have a rounded top on your longhouse.

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    Glue twigs and dried grass on to your longhouse roof. Once the glue has dried, your longhouse project is complete.

    Things You'll Need

    • Glue
    • Tape
    • Ruler
    • Stapler
    • Tan paint
    • Shoe box
    • Dried twigs
    • Newspaper
    • Small stones
    • Dried long grass
    • 1 sheet of red tissue paper
    • 4 squares of thin cardboard 4-inch by 4-inch
    • 2 brown construction paper 24-inch by 36-inch


About the Author

Joan Collins began writing in 2008. Specializing in health, marriage, crafts and money, her articles appear on eHow. Collins earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Arts in instructional technology from American InterContinental University.

Photo Credits

  • Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media