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Amish Barn-Raising Diorama

Amish communities are famous for their quilts and unique style of life. Show how the Amish work together by creating a realistic barn-raising diorama.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Students research Amish traditions, dress, and customs. Why do the Amish reject modern conveniences such as electricity and cars? Why is barn raising is so important to Amish farmers? To demonstrate what they have learned, students create a shoebox diorama of a barn-raising scene.
    2. On construction paper, use Crayola Twistables® and Markers to decorate a background for the diorama. Cut the background to fit inside a shoebox with Crayola Scissors. Glue the background into the box with Crayola School Glue.
    3. Using craft sticks, build a beginning barn structure. Glue it inside the box.
    4. On recycled file folders, draw, color, and cut out male figures, in Amish dress, who are building the barn. Leave a tab at the bottom of the figures. Fold over the tab and glue figures into place.
    5. Create a large table with traditional Amish foods. Include women and children, dressed in Amish attire, preparing to serve a meal to the men.
  • Standards

    LA: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgounds, classrooms, and the like.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, or people, events, and elements of culture.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

    VA: Know how the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students research Amish life and beliefs. Students can build dioramas of other aspects of Amish life such as caring for horses, riding in a buggy in an automobile society, milking cows, and quilting.

    Students identify areas of the country where Amish have settled. Research those areas and hypothesize why these areas are attractive to the Amish lifestyle. Compare and contrast these chosen areas. Do they all offer the same amenities? Prepare a map of the country which identifies each of these areas. Attach a list of amenities in each area that the Amish people find helpful to their chosen lifestyles.

    In researching quilting, invite a local citizen to share her expertise on this craft and why it continues to be practiced in the 21st century. Is there a purpose or focus to quilts? Why are there so many different types? Do the different types have meaning? How have quilts been used throughout the history of our country?

    How is education perceived in the Amish community? Students research Amish schools and organize this research to report upon how Amish schools compare to public schools in the United States.

    Students identify technology available today that the Amish do not use. Select a school day that the class will attempt to eliminate some or all of these aspects of technology from their lives. Students respond to the day's experience with a journal-like entry that describes what life was like for them for that day. How does this exercise provide students with a perspective into Amish life?

    Either in person or via a virtual visit, have students interview a local official regarding the interaction of Amish community with locals. Student groups will compose questions for this official prior to the scheduled visit. Questions such as how the local authorities interact with the Amish, especially in terms of the differing laws that guide the locals and the Amish can be addressed. After the interview, students can participate in a class forum, discussing the special challenges facing the local community when also housing the Amish.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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