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The Birchbark House Internet Activity
Based on the novel The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Directions: Bookmark this web page. Use the links to go to a site to find the answer.
You'll need to do some digging on the sites. Use the Bookmark to return to this page. Printer Friendly version

1. The book is written in sections by season. Write an Anishinaabe name for a moon for each season.
Select names that match something mentioned in the story.

 

2. Nokomis and Omakayas harvest the bark of a birch tree for their new home.
Write three facts about how native people have used birch trees.

 

 

 

3. Omakayas finds a treat. Some heartberries are growing next to the path. She thinks of sharing them with her sister. She ends up sharing them with two bear cubs. What is another name for heartberries?

 

Many creatures enjoy eating the leaves and fruits of the heartberry.
Write 3 of them.

 

strawberries

4. There are 8 species of bears in the world. Review these bear facts.
Which kind of bear do you think Omakayas met?

 

5. Deydey rewards Omakayas with a gift of the barrel of his old gun. He thinks it will make a good tool for scraping skins.
Here are photographs of Anishinabeg / Ojibwe tools.
Pick one and write a description of it.

 

 

6. Wild rice is an important food for the Anishinaabe. Compare your height to that of the wild rice reeds.

Height of wild rice reeds in feet. (use the tallest number) _____________________

Your height in feet. __________________________________

What is the difference?

 

7. Andeg, the crow, was a friend to Omakayas. In the story he cries, "Gaygo, Pinch!"
Do you think the author had Andeg doing things that a crow could really do?
Read the facts and decide. If you cannot decide based on these facts, use an Internet search engine to find more facts about common crows.

 

8. The Anishinaabe lived in North America for thousands of years before the invasion of the Europeans.
Write 5 interesting facts about them.

 

 

 

 

9. Angeline learns the letters so she can read the treaties to prevent the government from cheating her people.
Did the US Government use treaties to cheat the native people of North American? How?

 

 

10. Ms. Erdrich's childhood helped prepare her to write this story. Explain.

 

 

11. Listen to the song of the white-throated sparrow.

Extras:

Wild rice gathering Which job would you choose to do? Why?

 

Calculation:

Omakayas' family works together to do maple sugaring. Read Walking Bear's description of the process.
Deydey plans to trade syrup for other supplies. He needs five gallons of syrup to get the items he wants.

How many gallons of maple tree sap are needed?

 

Legends:

Read the Ojibway Legend: Winabojo and the Birch Tree.

Read this tale of the Dreamcatcher. More about dreamcatchers

Write a legend about Omakayas and the bears.

More Writing activities:

Write a biography of one of the characters Use the resources at Biography Maker

Write a condolence letter to Omakayas. Advice on writing a condolence letter

Compare & contrast A Traditional Ojibway Wigwam with your home - Worksheet

Write a review of the book. | Make a Story Timeline - ReadWriteThink - Timeline generator

Think about characters - Make a set of Character Trading Cards. - Planning sheet

Read one of these nonfiction books about Ojibway children. The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering by Gordon Regguinti, Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer by Sandra King or Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking by Laura Waterman Wittstock. What is it like to be an Ojibway child today?

Old Tallow was a great hunter. She must have used animal’s tracks to find them.
Learn about animal tracks.

"Never let fear take your mind away. Always think." Deydey

Journey onward:

* Pow Wow dances
Which dance would be of special interest to Omakayas?
* There are many Anishinabe words in the story.
Use the chart, at the bottom of the page, to help you say them well.
* Passing on the dance of the Ojibwe CNN Report with video * Explore the many kinds of moccasins of the native people of North America
* Do this about your life letter to Omakayas activity. * Make your own makazins project
* Maple, Sugarbush and the Anishinabe Activity * Enjoy this poem by Longfellow where he describes Hiawatha's Childhood
* On making a Birch Bark Wigwam.
Lots of photos of a birch bark wigwam
* Join On the trail of the First People - if you miss the deadline start one using the model
* The Three Fires * Ojibwe: Waasa-Inaabidaa PBS Special
* Native American clothing * Put on The Hidden One play
* Which clan would you say Omakayas belonged to? * Make a Book Trailer with Photo Story 3 free software and free tutorial
* Design a PowerPoint™ presentation of the story's elements  

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Created 2005 Cindy O'Hora Educators may print a hunt, exactly as it appears, for use in a classroom setting. FAQ Posted 7/10/2005 utd 11/12

tree icon Save a tree use a Digital Answer Format - Highlight the text. Copy it. Paste it in a word processing document. Save the document in your folder. Answer on the word processing document in a contrasting color (not yellow) or font (avoid fancy ones like broad, dear). Save regularly as you work. Submit the assignment via an electronic class drop box or email attachment. Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon MYO Printed answer sheet.

Or perhaps you have the resources to record verbal answers. If you do, be sure to first read / record the question. Then record the answer immediately after it.

Tech Tip: Working in a group or in two different places like the library & home? You do not have to be physically together to work together.
gold starWatch Google Docs video TAI - How could you use free, Google Docs to do a project? How would this facilitate group projects?

 

Aligned to Pennsylvania Academic Standards