Lesson Plan: Home Sweet Home G 4

Written By: Laurie Danielson
Grade Level: Grade 4

Time Allotment

4 class periods at 50 minutes each. Further exploration of these concepts can go into additional class times.


Incorporating ND Studies with art inspires students to observe the world around them. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of each tribe they have studied, as well as produce interesting works of art that can be displayed to show their understanding of how each tribe lived.

Lesson Plan - Home_Sweet_Home_Lesson.docx
Diorama Rubric - Diorama_rubric.pdf
Graphic Organizer 1 - Graphic-Organizer.pdf
Graphic Organizer 2 - Graphic-Organizer_2.pdf

Subject Matter

Visual Art with connections to North Dakota Studies.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to create a diorama to show homes of different tribes.

Media Components - Video/Web


Video Clips

Multimedia Tools
  • Document Camera
  • Smartboard
  • Mac computer
  • Internet access
  • Opt. books from library on Native Americans
  • Materials

    Session One/Setting the Stage

  • Shoebox or Cardboard boxes (any size)
  • Sketch paper
  • Water
  • Felt (in different colors)
  • Poly-fiber
  • Paints (multiple colors)
  • Paintbrushes (multiple sizes and textures)
  • Different colors of construction paper, 12x18
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils to add details
  • Glue
  • Rubber Cement
  • Ruler (18 inch ruler works best)
  • Tape
  • Cotton Balls
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Shoe box (or cardboard box about the same size)
  • Crayons, colored markers, colored pencils, acrylic or tempera paints
  • Construction paper, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, toothpicks, clay
  • Yarn, string, felt, foam, Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors
  • Dirt, sand, leaves, twigs
  • Tape, glue, scissors
  • Small figures, Legos, clip art printouts found on free Internet websites
  • American Indians of North Dakota unit book
  • Books about American Indians
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Rubric

  • Source: Diorama Rubric. Los Angeles Unified School District. .n.p. n.d. July 30, 2012. www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Allesandro_EL/.../Diorama%20rubric.pdf

    Session Two/Learning

  • Same materials as in session one (continuation of diorama)
  • Watch a video comparing the lives of Native Americans
  • Books and pictures of dioramas and American Indian homes will be available to look at

    Session Three and Four/Learning/Culminating Activities

  • Use class time to work on constructing diorama
  • Same materials as before needed to complete the project
  • Once the dioramas are complete, they will available to observe. Other classes will be invited in to our room to look and discuss the diorama scene with the students who made them
  • Teacher Preparation

    1. Preview and set up media components.
      • Computer
      • Document Camera
      • Lesson on hard drive or flash drive
      • Smartboard
      • Handout graphic organizers for note taking while watching media
    2. Prepare materials – Prior to starting unit Gather materials so each student has the following:
      • Different colors of construction paper, 12x18 (1/student)
      • Pencil and eraser (1/student)
      • Scissors (1/student)
      • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils to add details (variety of colors)
      • Glue (1/student)
      • Ruler (18 inch ruler works best) (1/student)
      • Tape (1/table of 4 students)
      • Cardstock (multiple colors)

    Introductory Activities

    Day 1

    1. Overview of unit:
      • Students will learn about American Indians of North Dakota.
      • Students will create a sketch of the diorama.
      • Students will learn about the history American Indians and making of their homes as well as the making of dioramas.
      • In doing so, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts and Visual Arts will be integrated into this unit of study.
    2. Activities
    3. Demonstration to begin our learning activities.
      1. Pass out materials: (3 students per table)
        • Shoe box (1 per table)/li>
        • Different colors of construction paper, 12x18 (1/student)/li>
        • Pencil and eraser (1/student)/li>
        • Scissors (1/student)/li>
        • Clay (5 sticks/per table of 3)/li>
        • Cotton Balls (15/per table of 3)/li>
        • Pipe Cleaners (bag/per table of 3)/li>
        • Fabric Scraps (per table of 3)/li>
        • Paint (color kit/per table of 3)/li>
        • Paintbrushes (3/per table of 3)/li>
        • Toothpicks (box per table)/li>
        • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils to add details (variety of colors)/li>
        • Glue (2/table of 3)/li>
        • Ruler (1/student)/li>
        • Double Sided Tape (1/table of 3 students)/li>
      2. Demonstrate with students following along:
        • Discuss and show an example(s) of making landscapes with twigs, construction paper, or felt. I will also demonstrate the making of a tipi with toothpicks and clay.
        • In order to make a tipi I will instruct students to break off a piece of clay and roll into a 2-3 in. ball. Use the palm of your hand to roll into a cylinder. Next, press your hand on one side of the cylinder to create a cone shape. Use your fingers to work the wider end of the cone. Pinch and pull the edges to create a flared bottom and place the teepee upright using toothpicks on the top of the teepee to create the imitation of branches.
        • We will further discuss how to make an earthlodge and wigwam.
        • Begin videos of the making of a diorama:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRamD98yqVg (5:09 min)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Fyv9kLpKk&feature=relmfu (4:59 min.)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rCvs6rHqM8 (5:42)
        • Have students draw a type of home (earthlodge, tipi, and/or wigwam) from a bucket and they will research American Indians and their homes with their assigned partners. (2 groups will be doing the same home).
        • Remind students that their dioramas will be 3 dimensional so when they sketch they should think about the top, bottom, sides, and background.
        • I will tell students that they can use their shoebox however they would like (i.e. some students may choose to do it vertically, or cut sides of the box).
        • Have students think of materials at home or outside that they could use for this project and bring in the next day.
        • Remind students not to get upset if they make a mistake when covering their shoebox with paper since it can be easily covered up.
        • Demonstrate how to make clouds out of cotton balls by stretching them and how to use pipe wire to make trees.
        • Students will put their name on the back of their shoebox lid so they’re all ready for day 2.
        • Explain diorama rubric to students and encourage cooperation among group members and to do their best work.

    Learning Activities

    Day 2
    1. Watch the video, “Comparing Lives of Native Americans” (Great Plains starts at 17:10 min, total time = 23:38min)
    2. Demonstrate how to measure the construction paper (or felt) to align with the size of the shoebox. Trace the shape onto the 12x18 construction paper by following these directions:
      • Place the shoebox onto the top left of the 12x18” construction paper, matching the straight edges of the shoebox to the straight edge of the corner of the paper. Make a line where it needs to be cut and measure with a ruler as well to make sure it is precise.

    Day 3 and 4
    1. Continue to work on dioramas until finished.
      • Students are encouraged to bring in nature items or figures from home to add to their diorama.
      • Students will start adding details with pencil first, then add markers, crayons or colored pencils.
      • Continue until diorama is completed.
      • Once finished, students will display their dioramas around the classroom as visitors from other classes will come see and discuss their works of art.
    2. Explore
      • Explore diorama designs and materials used to create them.
      • Students will explore other dioramas made by their classmates and ask questions about their dioramas and knowledge of the tribe they presented.
    3. Discussion Topics
      1. Types of homes used by tribes. Questions:
        1. Tipis, earthlodges, and wigwams all had smoke holes in their roofs. Why did the smoke go out of these holes rather than just spreading out and filling up the home with smoke?
        2. Why would wigwams be better than earthlodges as homes for people who lived in forested areas?
      2. Tipi; was a cone-shaped tent that was covered with hides. Thirteen or more wooden poles were used for the frame. The frame was then covered with 8 to 20 bison hides, sewn together. A fireplace was located on the floor in the center of the tipi, and an opening in the top let out the smoke. Stones were used to hold the bottoms of the tipis in place, and many of these circles of stones, called tipi rings, have been found on the North Dakota prairie.
      3. Earthlodge: was a dome-shaped home made of logs and covered with willow branches, grass, and earth. The center of each lodge contained a fire pit. A hole in the roof would let out the smoke and also let in light.
      4. Wigwam; was a cone-shaped dwelling made of poles set in the ground and covered with bark from birch trees. A fireplace in the center of the floor provided heat, light and a place to cook. The peak at the top of the wigwam was left open to let out the smoke.

      5. (Source: Herman, Gwyn and Lavernes Johnson. American Indians of North Dakota. North Dakota Center for Distance Education, 2007. Print.)
      6. The word diorama can either refer to a nineteenth-century mobile theatre device, or, in modern usage, a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum. Dioramas are often built by hobbyists as part of related hobbies such as military vehicle modeling, miniature figure modeling, or aircraft modeling.
        1. The word "diorama" originated in 1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from the French in 1822. The word literally means "through that which is seen", from the Greek di- "through" + orama "that which is seen, a sight." The diorama was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and Charles Marie Bouton, first exhibited in London September 29, 1823. The meaning "small-scale replica of a scene, etc" is from 1902.[1]
        2. The modern diorama; The current, popular understanding of the term "diorama" denotes a partially three-dimensional, full-size replica or scale model of a landscape typically showing historical events, nature scenes or cityscapes, for purposes of education or entertainment.

      7. Source: “Dioramas.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 July 2012

    Culminating Activity

    After creating the hands-on artwork assignment(s), students will:

    Visual Art
  • Display finished artwork within their school.
  • Share and reflect with peers.
  • Each student can verbalize about their artwork using academic terms (terms to be taught in a given course) (e.g. compostion the arrangement of parts in an artwork to create unity and symmetry the same on both sides).

  • Social Studies
  • Identify the location/region of cultures studied or represented.
  • Explain how background and history influence people’s actions (e.g., farming methods, hunting methods, economic decisions).
  • Explain the contributions of various ethnic groups (e.g., Native Americans, immigrants) to the history of North Dakota (e.g., food, traditions, languages, celebrations).

  • Math
  • Use a variety of strategies to solve problems; drawing pictures to plan out finished artwork.
  • Describe the attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes. Identify, describe, and model (e.g., using toothpicks or other materials) parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting lines and line segments.
  • Cross-Curricular Activity

  • Visual Art – Draw, compose a diorama.
  • Social Studies – characteristics of significant features of different cultures.
  • Math – Draw pictures to solve problems, describe 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Language Arts – Write to understand and improve comprehension.
  • Community Connections

    Go to Fort Totten State Historic Site:

    The materials used would be on the materials list above. Students will be able to take their artworks home after they have been displayed.