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The First Americans

Software: CoSpaces
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This lesson will introduce 2nd grade learners to the evolution of the American housing structure. This lesson allows educators to help teach an assortment of different housing types among Native Americans through tech-based and maker activities that help address the spatial thinking abilities of young children.


Lesson Overview

Overview Activity Objectives
Opening Activity Learners will with the help of cospaces discover the housing and shelter of Native Americans.
  • Understand Native Americans housing and shelter structure. 
Main Activity Learners will create Native Americans homes with the help of sticks and clay dough.
  • Create a Native American house 
Closing Activity Learners will share their creation with their peers, and reflect on the outcomes with their peers.
  • Present their Native Americans housing model with the class, and come up with ways to improve it.


Prior Knowledge

Learners should be able to:

  • Acquire knowledge about the housing arrangements in Native America..


Lesson Objectives

Learners will:

  • Identify different types of houses in early America.
  • Learn about the features of different kinds of homes, such as tepees, ancestral pueblos, and longhouses.
  • Design a prototype of an early American house.
  • Share their house prototypes with peers.


Learning Outcomes

Learners will be able to: 

  • Discover the art of recognizing and differentiating the different styles of homes prevalent among early American settlers.
  • Build knowledge about different types of tribal societies, their housing, and their culture.
  • Implement their understanding of early American houses and create a prototype.
  • Share their prototype with peers in the classroom.


Pre-lesson Preparation

  • Like all lessons on Eddy, this lesson follows a certain approach. If this is your first time implementing an Eddy lesson, check out our lesson approach for more information.
  • Prepare necessary logistics in advance.
  • Prepare necessary technology/hardware in advance
    • Devices (tablets/laptops/Chromebooks/computers) - one per team
    • A stable wifi connection.
    • Access to Cospaces edu on each device.


What can I do if I allocate more than three learners per group?
In the event of more than three learners per group, guide learners on ways to be equal, making time within the group to ensure everyone gets their share of hands-on learning. You can also assign the responsibility of monitoring equal making time and an opportunity to voice opinions to one team member.
How does building an early American home help in durable learning?
Engaging with art connects learners to their senses. Learning history is based on hardcore imagination, but art helps learners express their feelings. Through art, learners can utilize the knowledge they have gained to connect it to the real world and apply it to create a meaningful prototype.
How will a virtual walk in early America with co spaces help learners retain the knowledge of the early Native American homes?
Experience immersive learning with Cospaces, taking a virtual walkthrough of early Native American homes. This 3D environment allows for interactive exploration and engagement, as learners can interact with objects and alter the environment. This multi-sensory experience includes audio and visual elements, making it more engaging and memorable. In addition, learners can retain knowledge more effectively by understanding the spatial layout and design of these structures. Overall, Co spaces provides an interactive learning experience that promotes better knowledge retention.


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Slide 3

Introduce the ground rules, lesson norms, and team roles to students. You can check out our lesson approach if it’s your first time conducting an Eddy lesson.

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Slide 4

Ask the learners "What homes do you live in now?” gather a few responses as a class, then get students to individiaully draw the homes they live in. Give your students time to draw, and then ask them to share their artwork with the class/small group. Then, encourage them to share what they find unique about their dream house.

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Slide 5

Ask student to think about three things they'd like to add to their current houses, and add them into their sketch. When they're done, invite them to share with a shoulder partner.

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Slide 6, 7

Then apprise them of the task for this section by sharing the “Homes of the Past” on CoSpaces where Little Rabbit, Una len and Hikki will take them on a tour of the first American culture, food and housing.

Their task would be to identify the various types of houses of early America. 

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Slide 8

Share that learners will draw the pictures of the early houses based on the clues given in the prep worksheet. 

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Slide 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Introduction to learners with Cospaces EDU:

  • Get students to navigate on their devices to https://edu.cospaces.io/HDD-PMH
  • Guide your learners through the process of exploration on Cospaces.
  • If it’s your first time using cospaces, please refer to the tech tutorial here.
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Slide 16

Consolidate learning and invite students to share reflection questions.

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Slide 17

Introduce learners to the next task, creating a Native American home.

What if learners need to be more forthcoming with responses?
Ensure that you maintain a safe space in the classroom for learners to be confident in case of wrong answers. Time and again, declare that it is a judgment-free zone and that every response is valuable. For simple “yes” and “no” responses, encourage learners to use a simple “Thumbs up, thumbs down” response style.
How does the Home of the past activity help learners identify different types of early American houses?
With the help of CoSpaces, we can take learners back in time with the use of our Three main characters, Little rabbit, Una len, and Hikki, who will introduce learners to the food, culture, and houses of the Native Americans.
How can I adjust the activity for learners who require more support?
Guide learners through their virtual walk help them with Native American homes pictures and physical maps.
How can I adjust the activity for my more advanced learners?
To further explore Native American homes, learners can engage in extension activities such as building virtual homes or researching other homes from that era. In addition, educators can enhance the activity by incorporating cultural significance and providing information about the tribe or culture associated with each home. This allows learners to learn about the culture's traditions, values, and beliefs and how they were reflected in the design of their homes.


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Slide 18

Introduce the learners with the Maker challenge where they have to create a Native American home with the help of playdough.

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Slide 19

Provide learners with the necessary items which are required to create a Native American home:

  • A pack of clay
  • Clay cutter
  • A pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Wooden sticks
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Slide 20

Share the steps to accomplish this maker challenge

Introduce them with the steps they need to follow while creating the Native American home.

Step 1 : Select the type of Native American home you want to build.

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Slide 21

Step 2 : Assist the learners in constructing the frame and securing it with clay.

To construct a frame

  • Put clay into a ball.
  • Hold the wooden sticks together in shape.
  • Now place the ball of clay around the two wooden sticks .
  • Give it a shape by sticking it with clay.
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Slide 22

Step 3: Help them in constructing walls and roofs of the house

  • Take a small portion of clay and roll it into a ball.
  • Use your hands to flatten the clay.
  • Use cookie cutters, cut or shape the clay into rectangles and triangles.
  • Note: Educator will help learners to separate triangles from rectangles
  • Rectangular shapes should be used for walls.
  • Triangular ones for roof.
  • Educator will keep an eye while learners are cutting the shapes with a cookie cutter.
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Slide 23

Step 4: Let’s bring all pieces together and design a house.

  • Help learners to stick walls and roofs to the frame
  • Ask them to color their house if they want to make it more creative 
  • Finally, place the house on cardboard.
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Slide 24

Ask learners if what else they could do to make their Native American home more colorful and unique.Encourage them to incorporate the ideas and designs.

Share some ideas with the learners so that they can make their house more colorful and unique:

  • Add color with frames: Consider painting the frames of your artwork to add a pop of color and make them stand out. You could also choose frames with interesting shapes or designs to add visual interest.
  • Add some hay and pebbles to give your house an antique look.
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Slide 25

Play the timer on the screen for learners to be mindful of completing the task on time. 

What if my learners find it challenging to create the prototype of the Native American home?
As an activity, we can request learners to create a Native American dwelling by molding clay into their desired architectural design or draw it on a paper.
How can I make this activity more informative for my learners?
To help learners understand Native American homes, show them pictures of wigwams, longhouses, and teepees. Explain how the design varied depending on the tribe's location, environment, and culture. Discuss the materials, such as clay, sticks, and animal skins, and demonstrate how they were collected and prepared. Encourage learners to ask questions and create an interactive learning environment.
How can I adjust the activity for learners who require more support?
Scaffold their learning by breaking down the creation of the prototype into discrete steps. Teachers can use relevant examples (e.g. video recommendations on YouTube).
How can I adjust the activity for my more advanced learners?
Research different types of early American homes and compare their designs and cultural significance. Discuss how these homes were built and the resources available. Explore the properties of building materials and consider their environmental impact. Brainstorm sustainable resource management techniques used by people in the past.




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Slide 26

The educator asks learners to present their creations and let the class guess the Native American home they have created.

  • Learners go through the presentation guidelines ( pg 2 of student’s handout) and present taking help from supplement questions from the presentation template.
  • Towards the end, teams could open the floor for feedback on how they could further refine their Native American homes.
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Slide 27, 28

Congratulate the learners on successfully creating a Native American homes. To help them reflect on their work, ask the following questions. Sample answers for each question are provided below:

Which type of house did you choose and why? 

  • "I built a teepee because it looks cozy and warm, like a little home in the woods."
  • "I picked a longhouse because it has a cute sloping roof and big windows that make it look like a fairy tale house."
  • "I chose to build an ancestral pueblo because it has a big porch where I can sit and look at the beautiful fields around it."
  • How many people can you accommodate in your house? 
  • A typical teepee can accommodate a family of 4-6 people, but a giant teepee can accommodate 10-15 people.
  • An ancestral Pueblo structure varied widely, from just a few people in a small room to hundreds in larger, more complex structures.
  • A longhouse could accommodate anywhere from 20 to 60 people or more.
  • Learners know this as this information is there in the cospaces opening activity.
  • What did you discuss with your teammates while creating the house? 
  • We discussed how to shape the clay dough to make different shapes out of it and what colors we wanted to use. Finally, we discussed various things within our teams while creating a Native American home, such as brainstorming ideas, planning, problem-solving, and collaborating on the final design.
What advice can I give to teams whose Native American homes need to be more accurate? How can they improve their models?
Encourage teams to return to the cospaces project to get more information about the specific type of Native American home they are building and gather information about its design, materials, and cultural significance. Pay attention to the details of the home being built, such as the shape and size of the structure, the materials used for the roof and walls, and the way the house was constructed.
How would the presentation of the prototype facilitate reflection and feedback in the classroom?
Presentation has the added benefit of encouraging cooperation, listening skills, team building, and addressing several cognitive abilities involving analysis, assessment, and synthesis.
Can you list some sustainable resource management techniques that were historically used by people when building their homes?
In the past, people commonly used natural resources like wood, clay, stone, and grass to build their homes. However, renewable resources like bamboo and willow are favored since they increase and can be replanted, lowering the environmental impact. Native homes were built with natural light and ventilation in mind, which reduced the need for artificial lighting and heating. Additionally, thick walls and thatched roofs helped to regulate temperature. Sustainable agriculture techniques, including crop rotation, companion planting, and terracing, were also widely practiced by Native American cultures to minimize soil erosion and maintain soil fertility. By practicing sustainable resource management, people in the past could build homes that were not only functional but also environmentally responsible.



Identification of different types of houses from history



The learner can identify the Native American homes but struggles to differentiate with other homes.


The learner can correctly identify and differentiate with other Native American homes.


The learner can identify the attributes of different types of houses from history, and can efficiently categorize them according to the eras of Native American history.

Creating house prototypes.



The learner’s artwork does not exhibit all the attributes of Native American homes and more support from the teacher is required to create the prototype.


Learners’ artwork exhibits a clear understanding of attributes of Native American homes and some support from the teacher is required to create the prototype.


Learner’s artwork exhibits a thorough understanding of attributes and no support from the teacher is required to create the prototype. Learners can work independently.

House prototype sharing and feedback.



The Learner is not able to efficiently communicate or receive feedback.


Learners can share and receive feedback efficiently.


The learner can communicate clearly and receive feedback. Learner efficiently shares suggestions on “even better if” and is able authentically to congratulate peers on the art they felt fitting.




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