We have just left George Washington and the American Revolution and enter the times of the Louisiana Purchase, westward expansion with Lewis & Clark, and the young Shoshone girl who helped them navigate the rough terrain.

We read her story in the Who Was book series and were surprised to find that she experienced significant trauma at the age of 12, kidnapped and sold to a man who married her and bore his child. It was when she was pregnant that Lewis and Clark arrived in the village and discovered that her Shoshone background and survival skills were exactly what they needed to complete a successful expedition.

If it were not for the skills and experience of this young girl, this expedition would not have been. Her life had significant purpose, even in her trials and struggles, there was a bigger plan, and she became an unlikely hero of American history.

See more in this Ted Ed video:

Tipi Project

The Darice Wood Tipi Set was perfect to teach about the Shoshone culture, Amazon even sells them in packs of 6 if you can get them for your community group. Using the Who Was Sacagawea book and some photos from online research, we were able to get a good idea of the types of designs to make on the outside.

Download the CC Cycle 3 printable for the Who Was Series

We began building on a piece of card stock so there was a platform to move the tipi easily and also to glue down extra props and flooring after the structure was built. Directions included in the package were easy enough to follow with the instructions given. Kids had the least amount of patience placing the rods and waiting for glue to dry before they could do the rest.

TIP: Begin by gluing the structure, and while glue is drying, decorate the outside covering and build the back rest. 

What We Learned

  • The Shoshone hunted buffalo and used their fur, bones, and meat to survive. Pictures of buffalo frequently appeared in their artwork.
  • They lived through cold winters of what is now known as Idaho, lit fires inside their tipis which is why the top was open for smoke to escape
  • They dug canoes out of trees, knew a lot about using the natural resources around them.

This project was fun to do together because each of us could take a different job and suggest different things to enhance the appearance. My son added the canoes at the end and used his Lincoln Logs 🙂 Yay for combining history and art!

  • We accidentally threw away the paper wrap that came with the kit! But coffee filters worked as a great alternative
  • Pencil shavings glued down on the inside made great flooring
  • We used wooden skewers from the pantry and broke them to make the back rest, glued down onto a piece of coffee filter to make it pliable
  • Used string to tie the back rest and make it hang from a second tipi structure we made out of the skewers
  • Used a bracelet made of hand-wrapped beads to decorate the top… just for fun 🙂


Click Image Below for More Cycle 3 Resources

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