This May, as part of the fourth grade’s study of Native American history and culture, students began building a traditional dwelling used by the Mohican people known as a longhouse. The project is part of a multi-year collaboration between the fourth grade and the Flying Deer Nature Center, whose staff as well as Native American guest educators visited MED to teach the fourth graders about traditional longhouse building practices. The students dug holes for the posts, soaked and bent poles into shape, learned knots, and lashed posts and poles together to form the building’s superstructure.
The project gave students a hands-on way to connect with not only New York’s Native American history, but also develop a greater understanding and appreciation for nature by working with plant and other materials harvested from our local forests. With the basic framework of the longhouse now created, next year’s fourth grade class will continue the project by sheathing the walls and roof with bark. To learn more about the Flying Deer Nature Center, visit flyingdeernaturecenter.org