Iroquoian Longhouse

In our new history curriculum, America the Beautiful (Notgrass) we are learning about the Indians that lived in the United States before 1492.

We have learned about the Northwest Coast natives (Chinook, Tlingit, Haida), Plateau (Klamath, Nez Perce, Spokane and Walla Walla), the Great Basin natives (Paiute, Shoshone, Ute and Washoe), Southeast Woodlands (Alabama, Caddo, Cherokee, Chicksaw, Choctaw, Creek), Northeast Woodlands (Abenaki, Mohican, Dakota, Shawnee, Sioux).

One of our activities was to build an Iroquoian Longhouse with gum drops and toothpicks.  The kids were super excited for this project.  I told them I wouldn't help them and I wanted everyone involved.  so they divided up the house and got to work on building their section.

They all worked diligently.

Finally, everyone had completed their wall and it was time to put it together.

They tried and tried.

Eventually, I got involved to see if I could help them.  We kept referencing the textbook to see if we had forgotten something or were doing something wrong.

After 2 hours, we decided to take a break because everyone was super frustrated, even Mom.  We just couldn't get the Longhouse to stand.  We decided to revisit it in a couple days.

A week later, Cairn and I sat down to try again.  We quickly discovered the problem.  The short sides were supposed to be 5 long - 1 was 5 and the other was 6.  The long sides were supposed to be 12 long - 1 was 12 and the other was 11.  As soon as we fixed the lengths, it easily went up.  It took us about 30 minutes.  We had to reset each gumdrop and toothpick to make sure they were all pushed in to the same depth. That could of been part of the problem too, some were very loose.

The roof was still a bear to finish.  It just wanted to cave.

Everyone loved that we were able to complete the longhouse.  This project was a lot of fun.


  1. Tough project, but you guys finished!!!. Did anyone sample (eat) any of the building material? Love you guys more than all the sand grains on the beach at Treasury Island. Love Cappy

  2. Marshmallows (mini) would work better, they are lighter or straws would work too. Here are some other projects with that theme (there is a paper longhouse too.)


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