Iroquois Longhouse School Projects

American Indians built unique housing structures, which were designed to meet the needs of the tribe.

Iroquois Indian Longhouses are long and narrow houses covered by barks. Iroquois people lived in these houses until 1800s. The longhouse is 20 feet wide and 15 to 20 feet in height. School students who want to do a project about Iroquois longhouses can make a scale model of the house, a diorama, a report about how they made the house or a report discussing the significance of the longhouse in Iroquois culture.

1 A Scale Model

Iroquois longhouses featured wooden frame and elm bark sheets. The students can use sticks and twigs to make the scale model. They can prepare the base by using a box and cutting the sides of the box. They can fill the box with potting soil. They can use the thick sticks for the posts. Placing three sticks into the forked sticks can help them get support poles. The students can then construct the peaked or domed roof.

2 A Diorama

Students can also build a diorama of the longhouse using the floor plan. A diorama is a three-dimensional miniature of the longhouse. The model of the Iroquois longhouse comprises of a floor plan showing how things are arranged in the house above a cross section and a longitudinal section. The diorama differs from the scale model in that it does not have to be built of the same materials, and students can exercise creativity regarding the materials they use for the project.

3 Reports on Longhouse Structure

The students can prepare a report showing how longhouses were made. Iroquois constructed longhouse using a wooden pole structure, similar to a modern pole barn. Long poles were placed horizontally, and attached between the vertical poles to tie the structure together. They created the roof by bending young trees into an arch. The curved roof assured that rain and heavy snows would not accumulate and damage the roof. The students can collect many interesting information about longhouses and prepare a report, and compare how the longhouse architecture is similar to modern construction methods.

4 Reports on Longhouse Significance

The longhouse was significant to the Iroquois culture. Archaeology reveals some fascinating details about longhouse. Longhouses were up to 100 feet long and an entire clan was housed in each building. It comprised of a work area and a storage compartment. Iroquois people held their ceremonies at the longhouse. They also conducted political meetings and social gatherings there.

Since 2003, Timothy Burns' writing has appeared in magazines, management and leadership papers. He has contributed to nationally published books and he leads the Word Weavers of West Michigan writers' group. Burns wrote "Forged in the Fire" in 2004, and has published numerous articles online. As a trained conference speaker, Burns speaks nationally on the art, science and inspiration of freelance writing.