Center Focus

Totem Pole

  1. Provide information for students to peruse in order to learn about totem poles. Click here for a Totem Pole Information Sheet.
  2. Have students come up with a design for their mini-totem pole. They should base this on what they learned about totem poles. Totem poles are generally used to represent one's family, heritage, and ancestry. Native Americans used animals and spirits they were familiar with to represent these things. Since your students (most likely) won't be familiar with this type of symbolism, it will be more meaningful for them to use symbols they are familiar with to represent their family.
  3. Have students write a list of things or ideas they think represent their family, such as a favorite family sport, or a family business or profession, or particular hobbies of the family.
  4. To make the totem pole, you will need to provide plenty of boxes of varying sizes, brown wrapping paper, tempera paints, construction paper, and straight pins or tape. In order to create the totem pole, students will cover the boxes with the brown paper and make each box into a different symbol using the construction paper and paints.
  5. They will then stack the boxes together and hold them using straight pins or tape, depending on the size of the boxes, and their mini totem pole is complete!