So I had this idea to kick it up a notch. What if students could actually reach into a buffalo's gut and take something out? I could fill a paper buffalo with everyday items. After students retrieved the items, they could describe their items and list creative uses for the items. Would a particular item be used for defense? Survival? Food? Entertainment? Decoration? Be specific.
But reaching into a paper buffalo for a piece of plastic doesn't cut it. I needed something else to make this more experiential and less...lame. When I started cutting the paper for this activity (I was going through with it since it was still better than the boring paper work.), I wondered if I could enhance things with some of our science materials. That's when I remembered these super-absorbant jelly marbles (See video, right.). I secretly placed a teaspoon of the "marbles" in each of 13 plastic cups and filled the cups with water. By the next morning, the crystals had grown to the point that they filled the cups, with very little water left over.
Check Steve Spangler's site for more Science goodies.
But the bison-in-the-room was still there - literally in the room.
So I introduced our Native American studies with the idea that the Indians used every part of the animal - not just the pelt. We copied no lists.
Now to introduce the buffalo: I explained the activity, and students proceeded to "disembowel" this animal. They blindly put their hands into the buffalo (jelly crystals) and found items.
With Principal Bozarth looking on, Hoggatteers paired up to write descriptive paragraphs and make lists of uses for the item.
- Was this topic interesting?
- Was this activity fun?
- Did your partner contribute his/her best effort to the activity?
- Did you contribute your best effort to this activity?
- Did you have enough time to complete the task?
- Was there too much time provided?
- What suggestions might you have to make this activity even better for next year's class?