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Our Origin Stories Mini Unit

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We’re going to start our Fall term in a couple of weeks and I’ve been procrastinating.  There are a few changes that I need to make to our existing curriculum as well as some fleshing out of some of the other resources I’ve purchased.  It, like my summer homeschool plans, has taken a backseat to the glorious break we’ve been enjoying.

Last night I decided to gather the resources I was able to find at the local library and cross the Origin Stories Mini Unit off my to-do List.  The goal will be to study this alongside our Science unit on the origin of the universe before we segue into our study of the Solar System.

What will be using for that?  I haven’t gotten that far yet.

One thing at a time.

First Day:  Pokonoket or Wampanoag Creation Stories

  1. Locate Massachusetts on the map.
  2. Talk briefly about the history between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag.  Find Europe on the globe and talk about the journey the Pilgrims would have taken.  Explain the vital role that the Wampanoag played in the survival of these Europeans.  Visit the Scholastic website to view pictures of Wampanoag daily life in the 1600s.
  3. Set the stage for the stories by expanding on the text found on pg 12 of “The Children of the Morning Light: Wampanoag Tales as Told by Manitonquat.”  Read “The Song of Creation” and “Sky Woman and the Twins” pgs 13-19.  Ask comprehension questions and finish with dictation of a short sentence from something that child remembers or was a favorite from the story.

Second Day:  Wampanoag Creation Stories

  1. Review the stories from the day before.
  2. Look at pictures of where the present day Wampanoag live.  Review a map of Massachusetts and identify place names that are Wampanoag.  Using a blackline map (still need to find this) of Massachusetts, identify the four contemporary Wampanoag communities.  For notebook page – copywork of the Wampanoag words that became a part of everyday life.  (Use this website for all)
  3. Using the same book as the day before, read “Maushop Builds Turtle Island” and “Firstman” on pgs 20-29.  Ask comprehension questions and have child dictate a sentence from something memorable or a favorite part of the story and then draw a picture to illustrate.

Third Day:  Wampanoag Creation Stories

  1. Review stories from the day before.
  2. Read “How Death Came into the World” and “The Great Migration and Old Man Winter” pgs 35-46.  Ask comprehension questions and have child dictate a sentence from something memorable or a favorite part of the story to use for copywork.
  3. Talk briefly about the importance of corn to the Wampanoag.  Make cornbread from the website linked yesterday.

Fourth Day:  Algonquin Creation Story

  1. Touch on the attitudes of European Christians and native peoples using pg 5 of “How We Saw the World:  Nine Native Stories of the Way Things Began” by C.J. Taylor.
  2. Since today’s story is about Niagara Falls, have child locate New York on the map.
  3. Review facts about Niagara Falls.  View Niagara Falls videos here and on YouTube.
  4. Read over the history page at the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation website  paying particular attention to their beliefs and creation story.
  5. Read “The Birth of Niagara Falls” on pg 6 of “How We Saw the World.”  Ask comprehension questions and have child dictate a sentence from something memorable or a favorite part of the story.

Fifth Day:  Creation Story from the Blackfeet Nation

  1. The Blackfeet Nation live in what is now Montana.  Locate Montana on the map.
  2. Talk about Blackfeet culture and way of life.
  3. Read “How Horses Came Into the World” on pgs 16-20.  Ask comprehension questions and have child dictate a sentence from something memorable or a favorite part of the story for copywork.  Draw a picture to go with this using the Horse lesson from “Draw Write Now” Book 1 and an appropriate background.  Look at pictures of modern-day Montana to help with this.

Sixth Day: Creation Story from Ancient Israel

  1. Locate Israel on the map.
  2. Talk about how the version of the story that we’re going to be reading is based upon a story found in the Hebrew Bible.  Mention that this story is also located in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.  Explain that, as in many other cultures, there are people who believe that the world was created in exactly the way it is described in their creation story.  There are also people in our country who believe that if this story isn’t literally true then it’s a bad thing.  Explain that we do not believe that this story is true, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an important or valuable story.
  3. Read “Elohim the Creator” on pgs 149-152 of “In the Beginning:  Creation Stories from Around the World” by Virginia Hamilton.  Ask comprehension questions and have child dictate a sentence from a favorite part of the story or what he remembers from the story.

I’m inserting this into our curriculum in place of a section on prehistoric life. We’re already going to be covering the prehistoric information later on in the year for our science curriculum and I don’t think it’s necessary to duplicate it in our history lessons. After we finish this mini unit, we’ll still be covering origin stories, but we’ll do so in conjunction with the units on those civilizations like Egypt and Babylon.  I’ll be utilizing “In the Beginning:  Creation Stories from Around the World” for this as well as this online resource called “Creation Stories from Around the World.” When we cover the Babylonians we’ll also use this neat retelling of a Marduk story.

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