A Kindergarten Lesson on the Eskimo
The children will meet new friends called the Eskimos. Discuss how the Eskimo children enjoy playing and learning. They do not live in igloos, but in normal houses and go to schools just like ordinary children. Read the book Alaska ABC Book, by Charlene Keeger and Shannon Cartwright. This book has native words and pictures of the alphabet that the children will also enjoy listening to and reading on their own.
Explain how severely cold the winters are in Alaska and Canada, where the Eskimos live. Alaska is also part of the same country, the United States, where we live. Show them a globe and a world map and place a star onto North America. Show them the United States and Canada. Place a different color star on them as a reference.
The animals that live there are seals, whales, walrus, moose, caribou and Polar bears. The Eskimos hunt and fish for food. The Eskimo children love to hear stories of how their ancestors survived in the rugged frozen tundra, using the animals to supply oil for lamps, hides and fur for clothing to stay warm.
For transportation, the dogs would pull the sleds or the men would travel the rivers in canoes called kayaks. The entire family would travel on a boat called the umiak. Today, the Eskimo families are close and depend on each other to live in the harsh climate. Except for a few modern conveniences, the culture and lives of the Eskimos have changed very little.
The children work together to make an igloo with blocks that have been covered with white paper. This fosters problem solving skills and social development.
This numbers game, called "Ice Fishing", will help the kids review the number family that they are learning, such as the 20's or 30's family. Write a number on each fish to be placed in the center of a box made with the igloo blocks from the Block Center. Secure a paper clip to each fish, using a pole with a magnet tied to the end of the string. As the children catch a fish, the child says the number and returns the fish to the "ice".
Writing and Phonics:
A kindergarten lesson on the Eskimo provides an opportunity to work on the letter "E" for Eskimo. Introduce the letter as a vowel, review the sound, short "e" says e as in Eskimo. The class may think of other words that begin with short "e". Practice writing the capital and lower case "Ee".
Time should be allowed for journaling at least once a week. In this lesson, date and title each page, " Our Eskimo Friends", and let each child draw (pre-write) pictures about what they have learned. Review the new words, Eskimo, kayak, umiak and tundra and a brief discussion about each word. You should transcribe, in their own words, what each drawing depicts.
- The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale, by Lydia Dabcovich
- Alaska ABC Book, by Charlene Keeger and Shannon Cartwright