Q:

What are some good tips for building a longhouse for a 4th grade school project?

A:

Quick Answer

Find straight and sturdy wood to ensure that the structure is stable. Next, cut holes into the wood to place four base posts. Use posts and poles to create a secure frame and then cover the structure with bark. Finally, reinforce the structure with another smaller structure.

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Full Answer

The wood used should be flexible, as the rafters of longhouses are curved at the top and not pointed. The frame is a structural grid with a round roof. When creating the frame, keep in mind that the Iroquois placed ten-foot walkways down the middle of their longhouse. Birchwood was used to secure the joints; however, nails are an appropriate replacement. Bark may also be used by tearing it into strips and soaking it in water so that it can be braided.

Cover the frame of the longhouse with elm tree bark. Before placing the bark, it needs to be weighted down to avoid curling. Next, weave the bark in and out of the frame. Some holes should remain towards the center as ventilation for smoke from a fire to escape.

Adding the detail of insulating the inside of the longhouse using fake animal fur or woven fabric creates a realistic looking longhouse.

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