Design Plan for Fifth and Sixth Grade Children
A two-lesson plan to
explore the settling of Colonial America through construction of log building models
Subject - Elementary History
Topic - Early Colonial America: Log Home Construction / Lesson One
Grade Level - 5th and 6th grade
Note: The first lesson takes this project up to the completion of the log home and
general store models. The second lesson in this series (included elsewhere) completes the overall model through construction
of the surrounding scenery of a New England landscape.
Lesson Length – One Hour and Fifteen Minutes
is not for the sake of knowledge as such; it is solely to produce a specific effect in practical life. What is important is
the effect, not the knowledge.”
– Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation
Wholeness of the Lesson:
a colonial-era home and general store, using methods and materials simulated from constructions of the time, students will understand
the concerns and reponsiblities of new settlers in America.
of Creative Intelligence" Wholeness Point:
“The whole is more than the sum of it's parts.”
To experience firsthand
the creation of a home from numerous parts is to discover wholeness emerging from a myriad of diverse activities - sawing,
assembling, securing, etc.
· Children will
understand the mingling roles and relationships of new settlers.
· Children will experience the hands-on activity and sense of
accomplishment involved in the creation of a log home model.
· Children will experience
for themselves, as did the early settlers, the pride and freedom of home ownership with the cooperation of an altruistic
Objectives of the Learning:
· The basic needs of each member
of society can be filled when all members share their skills and creative intelligence, as was practiced in Colonial America. By the group practice of the "skill" of transcending during the TM program, harmony is spread
at the most basic level of society.
· It is possible to build something much bigger than ourselves,
such as a home or a store: we simply start … and Nature supports our intentions. In the practice of the TM-Sidhi program,
we experience the impossible becoming an everyday experience – the accomplishment of Yogic Flying!
· A new country or a new world begins with new hope. Hope is the faith that the heart feels in the mind’s ability to accomplish
its dreams. And hope is also the confidence of the mind in the skill of the heart -- to bring life to ultimate
safety in the experience of pure self-referral, the state of Unity Consciousness.
learning approach is employed in this submergence learning activity. Hands-on creation of Colonial American log
home models is accompanied by guided inquiry of the teacher. The natural environment and the communal elements of
life in early Colonial America are
discussed and are even role-paled during this ambitious project.
Principles of Teaching – "Receptivity"
"Supply frequent and varied opportunities for
students to enjoy, apply and otherwise experience the meaning behind the concepts they learn.”
Large group reflective thinking is used in discussing the colonial-era occupations that might have assisted in
home building. Small group work (three to four students per "sub-project" area) is the strategy
used during construction of the buildings, mortar and roof (and later the furniture and the scenery). Students may transfer
as needed or desired between projects. These simultaneous small group projects then come together in the final phase, as in
a colonial-era "home-raising" endeavor, to create our finished model.
Multiple Intelligences and Differentiation:
of many expressive modes will enjoy this educational activity. The socially adept (interpersonal) child will like to learn
of the occupations and roles of society and perhaps to model them during home construction. The artistic, spatially-adept
child will enjoy planning and decorating the home. The mathematical or scientific thinkers in the class will have fun measuring
and assembling the model home and one other colonial structure.
of restricted learning skill will find the systematic procedure of assembly of a small log home encouraging to their abilities.
Sighted and non-sighted students will find the sawing and assembly of cardboard
Standards for Social Studies (NCSS)
"Students of the fifth grade will take part in “authentic activities
… that call for real-life applications using the skills and content of the field.” This activity will require
“reflective thinking and decision-making as events unfold during instruction.”
"The subject matter of fifth grade social studies curriculum will “integrate knowledge, skills, beliefs, values
and attitudes to action. It integrates across topics and curriculum, and across time and space.”
Special Application of Vedic Knowledge
of safe shelter for humanity is a project that unifies all mankind. It finds its fulfillment in the safety from disease and
misfortune that Maharishi Sthapatya Ved design offers to each prospective homeowner.
In our review we will discuss some of the characteristics of life and environment in Colonial America that
new settlers encountered. We will also examine some of the occupations of a colonial village that were associated
with early home building, including:
Lumber Jack (cuts logs) and Sawyer (creates lumber)
/ Cabinetmaker (home construction and furniture-making)
(created spikes for home-building)
Plasterer (mortar preparation)
Glazier (installed windows)
Locksmith (locks and handles installed)
(maker of barrels for rain collection and food storage)
Millwright (builder of mills, incl. saw mills)
(for later colonial homes)
close our eyes for one minute. Let’s imagine that we are settlers, just arriving on a ship coming from England. Our
first need, when we arrive at our new plot of land is to create shelter for ourselves. Along with a few neighbors, whom we
later assist in the same way, we begin to build our family a log cabin.”
“Let’s open our eyes, now. Looking at this picture of a
log cabin, let’s decide what materials we would need in order to build it. Let’s also decide who in our village
will help us get these materials, and what people could help us build our home.”
“Now let’s build our home and one more
log structure that we might visit on a regular basis in our colonial village.”
· Cardboard picture of a log cabin, for
discussion and (partial) reference
saws (see Figure One)
and salt modeling dough (see “Mortar” below)
Bamboo barbecue skewers (replaces Colonial era “spikes” for securing corners and logs)
2" x 4" wood sections for use as cutting blocks (secure to desks
with strong tape)
spoons / Plastic plaster trowels, various widths / palettes or squares of cardboad for use as plaster holders while applying
Pliers with a wire-snipping edge
tape or plastic wrap
figurine cut-out book of Colonial American settlers
Teacher should laminate
sections of cardboard with corrugation moving in the same direction. A scrolling line of glue is
Cut “log sections” out of cardboard panels. Cut logs two inches wide, plus the full length of each side of both buildings. Length should
include the overhang at both ends of log, as seen in Figure Two.
roof panel and tiles (see "Student Procedures" below)
Collect natural elements such as gravel, sand, decorative rock and pinecones for next day's landscaping project
desks into workshop mode, including taping wooden 2" x 4" to tables as cutting blocks
materials strategicaly into work station areas for each sub-project. Create: roof assembly, wall assembly, mortar mixing and
Student Procedures and Activities:
Notch bottom left and bottom right of each log section
as shown in Figure Two. The notch indent is 2 times the thickness of the tri-layered cardboard logs. Thus, log ends overhang the
corners of the buildings, as shown in Figure Three. Notch height is
one half of the width of the log: a layer
of two notched logs "dovetail" at each corner.
3 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water (to begin
Allow children to experiment for an ideal consistency (wet but still sticky) of mortar by adding extra water to above dough
mixture. Mix and knead well. Use cardboard
palettes and spreading tools to apply mortar to top of
logs when ready (Figure Three).
Assemble logs utilising notched ends of logs, mortar and bamboo skewers. Long skewers should be placed at corners of buildings and half
way along the length of the wall (one
long segment, plus short segments
as needed), especially between future
door and window (Figure Two).
Allow students to
trim skewers to length using wire-snipping pliers,
after last row is applied
Slide log sections down over the skewers to begin construction from
bottom layer to top layer. Apply mortar thickly then squeeze it slightly
(to about 1/4 inch thickness) as logs come together. Let
dry naturally, or use a small tool to trim it away, depending upon
desired finish look.
Hold structure firmly "with many hands" as teacher cuts out door
windows. Optional tool -- a serated steak knife, used carefully -- works
best. Apply shingles to roof with white glue as in Figure Four.
Set roof on top of walls, using spare cardboard to create four small
stopping blocks (2" by 2") on inside
of roof panel. These allow roof to
remain free-standing, for easy removal
and viewing of interior of cabin
Apply clear tape or plastic wrap carefully to window spaces (from inside)
as "glass panes".
Fulfillment and Closure
Welcome the class into their
new home and village!
“Today, we have created
a log cabin in much the same way as the early settlers of America did. Do you like your new log home and your general store?
Does it make you feel happy to know that you created it?”
Ask what would be nice to have inside and
outside these structures. Discuss the point that many families in early Colonial America built their own furniture,
until they could afford to purchase items from stores or craftsmen. Does the class think that they could build some furniture
tomorrow for their homes, church or store? Discuss the natural environment of New England -- mountains and trees -- and introduce
materials for tomorrow's landscaping project.
On-going assessment is the
best tool for this classroom project, since all children will be naturally inspired to be a part of the creation
of their home. Students will be assessed upon their level of participation, regardless of their "competency" in
constructing their log buildings. Their knowledge of occupations in Colonial Society will be the second element for on-going
assessment. A short post-
exercise, created from the list above, in naming
the occupations that each child has role-played during the activity of house-raising is beneficial and fun.
The satisfaction that results from individual
effort combining in a grand group participation should be one of the primary
grading points for this project -- as they would have been for a successful life in Colonial America.
Send paper figures home for children to cut out as stand-up models (permanent or movable) in
final display. Children should each bring two food items – spices, staples,
etc. – that will fit into general store “apothecary” jars the next day.
~ Knowledge is the basis of Action; Action leads to achievement;
Achievement brings Fulfillment ~
(From the teachings