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Reeds and Rainwater Make Baskets

Weave a basket? Sure! Explore how the Caribs of Dominica use natural materials to create beautiful handcrafted baskets.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The Caribs, who are descendants of the Arawaks (the native people of the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica) are expert basket weavers. They soak very thin strips of reed in tree stumps where rainwater collects. The tree and its bark produce natural dyes, resulting in many different values of the color brown. Invite students to investigate these people and their weaving practices. Organize a variety of resources for students to view during this research. New learning will be used to create a basket replica.
    2. Here’s one way to create a replica Carib basket. Use Crayola® Multicultural Markers to color several thick stripes of different shades of brown on a large sheet of paper. Cut thin strips from each stripe with Crayola Scissors.
    3. Weave a square bottom with several strips. Fold up the ends of the strips and weave them into sides. Make strips longer by gluing another strip on the end with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    4. To finish baskets, students fold the strip ends into the inside the basket and trim them. Glue the ends inside the basket.
  • Standards

    Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

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

    Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    Observe and compare the many kinds of living things that are found in different areas.

    Analyze a representation of a particular habitat showing the locations and shapes of both land and water features of that habitat and communicate how the land and water support animals and plants.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Describe how we depend upon workers with specialized jobs and the ways in which they contribute to the productions and exchange of goods and services.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Abuela's Weave by Omar S. Castaneda; Dominican Republic by Elaine Landau; The Dominican Republic by Walter Simmons

    Encourage students to create a variety of shapes and sizes of woven baskets. Students work in teams to contemplate possible uses for each of the baskets created.

    Collect a variety of woven objects from various cultures for students to observe. Challenge students to note the various types of weaving patters, colors, and materials contained in each. Students brainstorm what each item may be used for as well as where it may have originated.

    Students work in teams to research the history of the Caribs of Dominica. Discover why Dominica is called the "Nature Island." Students sketch a map of the location of the island, as well as identifying the bodies of water surrounding the island.


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