Grade: Elementary

#1646. Building a Pioneer Cabin

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Mar 27 17:54:18 PST 2000 by Rebekah Good (
Jackson, Michigan, USA
Materials Required: 2 bags of pretzel sticks, green construction paper (8 1/2 x 11)
Activity Time: about one hour, depending on the skill level
Concepts Taught: Understanding the difficulties the pioneers faced when constructing their homes

Objective: The students will understand how difficult it was for the pioneers to build their homes.
Preparation: Show the students pictures of log homes or read about how log homes are built today. A good series to read is the Little House books. Many of them describe different types of pioneer houses.
Before you teach the students how to make a log cabin, you need to have one made first so they can see what the end product will look like.
Instruction: Each student will receive about 45 pretzel sticks (logs). It does not matter if they are straight or not or even if they are broken. The pioneers had to make do, so must our kids! Also, give each student a piece of green construction paper (grass). The students should put their name on the top of the paper before beginning. Then, using Elmer's glue, have the students make a box about the size of the pretzel sticks. They shouldn't worry if the lines are perfectly straight. Then lay down the four sticks, to make the foundation. It should look like a pretzel stick box, where you can see the green paper in the center. Continue to put a good strip of glue and a "log," until you get about three logs high. At this point, you need to wait and let it dry a little and then continue until the cabin is about 6 logs high on each side. You might want to begin with the roof while waiting for the cabin to dry. I found it easier to do the roof in sections. For example, I glued five logs together, then another five, waited for them to dry and then glued them together to make one side of the roof. I just repeated the process for the other side. When the roof pieces were dry, I slanted them outwards and glued them to the top of the cabin. One pretzel stick on the seam of the roof will complete your log cabin! The students can design the grass with trees, flowers, or whatever they please.