This lesson brings together math and culture through the construction of a wigwam. The final product will be a traditional Ojibwe village produced with the compilation of dioramas.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


Begin the lesson with all students seated in a "waawiiyedabig" circle. Read the class a story by Louise Erdrich to spark their interest about "waaginogaanag" wigwams. Discuss the Europeans first impression of the birchbark lodge and address historical misconceptions. Ask the students if they would like to take a trip back in time and recreate a traditional Ojibwe settlement starting with the wigwam.


All procedural activities should be demonstrated before the class; procedures discussed and expectations set in place before materials are given out. A check list for procedural order is given out to each student and demonstrated on the white board to build concept knowledge. Many examples are manipulated to further access understanding. The actual construction comes next with periodic demonstrations and knowledge assessments.


  1. Display a model of a wigwam in its frame state
  2. Pair up the students and pass out materials
  3. Model how to create a perfect circle using basic materials allowing time for students to recreate
  4. Go over Mathematical vocabulary and the significance of each word (radius, circumference, origin, diameter, and pie)
  5. Have the students properly solve the radius, circumference, and diameter and label on their board
  6. Pass out 8 strands of Floral Cloth Wire to each group
  7. Have a class discussion on how the wire is used to create the framework of the wigwam
  8. Groups begin constructing the framework with cloth wire and floral tape
  9. Assist with the gluing
  10. Using the precut wallpaper, discuss with the groups on how we could cover the wigwam using the least amount of waste
  11. Have the students cut their wallpaper sheets into small rectangles and begin covering their wigwams
  12. Once all groups are finished, start piecing together a village by adding/creating pieces representing a scene of an Ojibwe village using everyone's work


Display all groups' wigwams as one combined village. Orally point out certain parts of the construction having the students retell how it was constructed using math concepts


  1. The student's boards will be labeled properly (radius, circumference, origin, diameter, and pie)
  2. The student's end result will be a constructed wigwam

Vocabulary Words


This is an excellent project that covers multiple standards in a fun, hands-on learning environment that is culturally relevant. The students have a tangible final product that they can take great pride in.

Grade Levels


Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts



Social Studies