Fourth grade students throughout the district are learning about New York state history. As they begin the learning process, they find out about New York’s geography and are immersed in a unit on the earliest Americans. As part of that research, students begin to study the end of the last Ice Age, the extinction of the mastodon, and the migration of hunters and gatherers across the Bering Strait into the Americas.
From there, the curriculum focuses on the development of farming and its connection to the rise of the earliest communities. Through nonfiction reading and research, Veeder Elementary fourth grade students learn that the early Americans settled near the Hudson, the Mohawk, and the Finger Lakes. Through their hands-on classwork, the students learn that the Iroquois were one of the major groups of Native Americans to inhabit New York. While focusing in on the Iroquois, students are observing how the land was used, how the longhouses were built and organized, jobs of Iroquois men and women, and the development of the Iroquois Confederacy.
At the end of the Iroquois unit of study, students are encouraged to build a model of a longhouse for extra credit. This is a tradition many fourth grade students and families have looked forward to over the past 20+ years. Students use their textbooks, library books, and the internet to gather ideas. They spend 2-3 weeks planning, gathering materials, and constructing their models. After sharing their finished products with their classmates, the fourth grade students bring their longhouses to the Veeder Elementary library so the rest of the school community can enjoy, while learning about the Iroquois.