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The Archaeology of Wichita Indian Shelter in Kansas

Fourth Grade

The Archaeology of Wichita Indian Shelter

The Wichita lived near the Arkansas River in central Kansas 500 years ago. They built large villages of grass houses on the great bend of the Arkansas River. They relied on natural resources to live on the prairie and used prairie grasses and trees for building shelters and for fuel.

This lesson begins with the mystery of the bone tool. From this evidence students use primary sources to draw their own conclusions, evaluating the results of in-depth research by archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, and descendants of native peoples. Students are introduced to Virgil Swift, a descendent of the Wichita people. The unit takes students through the step-by-step construction of a grass house, how such as structure was built, from what materials, and by whom. Students complete the unit by learning about the market economy: starting a local business, the benefits and costs of local materials, and building demand through marketing.

The teacher guide PDF file provides step-by-step instructions and answers coupled with miniature copies of the actual student magazine and student journal pages. The colorful student magazine is the text and is intended to be non-consumable. The consumable student journal offers students their own record of the activities included in the lesson.

Please Note:

The instruction in the teacher guide on page 15, specifying Column D, supersedes the notation in the Student Journal box on page 11 of the Student Magazine that incorrectly directs the student to Column C.

The instruction in the teacher guide on page 16, specifying Column C, supersedes the notation in the Student Journal box on page 12 of the Student Magazine that incorrectly directs the student to Column D.