Lesson
Plan #4  Tipi Fractions (pronounced teepee)
By Keith Erickson, Poplar Middle School
Grade Levels: 4. 5.6
Links: Social Studies Art
Summary:
Tipis are
a wonderful manipulative to demonstrate handson fraction skills and
demonstration.
Time
Required:
3040 minutes
Teacher
Preparation:
A great
activity for introducing fractions or during Native American Week. The
teacher would need a little information into the uses of the tipi. A
local source (museum director or a Native American expert) would be
a excellent avenue in researching teepees.
Student
Preparation:
The students
would need background into where the tipis were used and what tribes
used the tipis.
Materials
for the Classroom:
Paper Plates,
Scissors, Markers
National
Standards:
This lesson
will cover the following NCTM National Standards
 Content
Standard 9  Two and threedimensional geometry
 Content
Standard 7  Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
 Content
Standard O  Whole Number concepts and skills
Objectives:
Using the
constructions of tipis to demonstrate basic fractions geometry.
Introduction:
This is
one question to explore, "Why do I need this and when will I ever
use this answers?"
Tell the students that good mathematical skills was a must for the survival
of
the Native American culture. Tell the students that construction of
tipis is an
excellent way to demonstrate fractions.
Procedures
for theClassroom:
Begin the
lesson by explaining that math is not something that only the students
have to survive through, Native Americans have been using math in cooperation
with their culture for many years. Tell the kids that a tipi was one
of the most important survival tools to the Native Americans. Without
math and geometry, good construction of the tipi would have been very
difficult. Hold up a paper plate and tell the class that one paper plate
represents the whole number.
 Giving
each of the kids a paper plate, fold the plate in half and cut along
the folded line. Now tell the kids that each of the two halves makes
1. Demonstrate by holding up the two pieces. Now fold the two pieces
in half and cut along the ibid. Now show the kids that you have four
parts of a whole or onequarter. You can continue this process as
much as you want. Try not to go smaller than sixteenths. After cutting
the pieces, now tape the pieces back together so you have the original
two pieces (mohalves). Now tell the students that these two original
pieces represent two tipi covers. Tell the kids this is how the Indians
made their tipis, but thev sewed.
 This
is the second cut that should be made with the plate. You now have
1/2 of 1/2 to a quarter of a whole.
 This
process can continue until the plate is cut into 1/8's, 1/16's or
1/32's. The plate should not be cut extremely small. The smaller the
pieces the harder they are to put back together when making the tipi.
Now make a conical shape to represent a tipi. Have the kids decorate
if desired.
Facts
and Concepts:
Native
Americans constructed their tipi covers from a semicircular design.
They cross stitch together pieces of hide into a semicircular design
and then make a conical shape out of that. This conical shape is the
basic form for all tipis constructed on the Plains.
Follow
Up Activities:
A few follow
up activities can be: A more detailed explanation of the use of tipis.
An actual tipi cover can be brought into class, if access is available.
Further, setting a tipi up is a wonderful idea.
For math, cutting the pieces even smaller can be an option. The pieces
can be cut into eighths, sixteenths, etc.
Evaluation
Suggestions:
The evaluation
is a great way to include multiple intelligences (VerbalLinguistic,
LogicalMathematical, & Visual, Spatial). Give a quiz over the lesson
presented. Simply hold a piece of plate that was {put away and have
them answer "how much of the plate do they have." This evaluation
can be as basic as you want or more sophisticated if desired. The best
thing about the evaluation is that it covers more than one multiple
intelligence. The child is not only looking at the problem, they are
also being read the problem by the teacher. Performance grading is also
an option. If the child does the project and puts forth great effort,
then this an excellent way of assessing. If you decide to do this, I
would tell the children before that their performance determines their
grade.
Resources
Bryan, William J. Montana's Indians: Yesterday and Today. 1996. American
& World Geographic Publishing.
"Seven Ways of Knowing." Article. Daivd Lazere. PP. 174176.
