Museum Visit Informs Grade Three Study of Woodland Natives

The third graders attended a workshop at the Museum of the City of New York to learn more about the Lenape, the indigenous people of Manhattan. 

As a complement to their social studies curriculum on the origins of Manhattan and the study of its Woodland Natives, the third grade boys visited the Museum of the City of New York to learn about the Lenape tribe, the island’s original inhabitants who lived here 400 years ago.

The boys participated in a hands-on workshop, investigating how the Woodland Natives used natural resources to survive. Because no written history was left behind, the boys studied replicas of artifacts, as well as pictures of resources the Lenape may have used many centuries ago. They learned how tribe members used various plants, animal parts and water to meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

The boys also viewed maps depicting Manhattan in 1609, allowing them to explore where these natives may have settled based on the location of water, forests and fertile land. This exercise reinforced the importance of the relationship between the Lenape and their habitat. 

The knowledge gained during this museum visit was brought back to the classroom, where the boys later wrote a five-paragraph essay based upon the essential question, "How did the Woodland Natives use the natural resources around them to survive?"