Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Wisconsin!
This curriculum guide incorporates authentic archaeological and historical research paired with oral histories to teach students about the use and importance of the Wickiup in the past and present lives of Meskwaki people. In this investigation students will use geography, history, archaeology, and rock art to learn about Midwestern wickiups and the Meskwaki people who lived in them. In the 1700s the Meswaki people moved south into Illinois and west of the Mississippi into Iowa. Examine historic photographs, artifacts, and maps of the Bell Site near Oshkosh, WI. Students meet Mr. Johnathan Buffalo, a Meskwaki, through reading a biography and oral histories. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of the Midwest shaped the wickiup. Explore the use of traditional wickiup architecture today and engage students in a debate on a current civic dillemma involving archaeology and preservation.

SKU: pa-wickiup Categories: , ,



"The wickiup is our symbol. To me it means family safety, home" -Mr Johnathan Buffalo, Historical Preservation Department Director, Meskwaki Nation, Tama, IA

"The Investigating Shelter: Investigating a Midwestern Wickiup unit will help ensure that Iowa students have an opportunity to learn of our area's past inhabitants, how they used natural resources, and the connections to today. Environmental Education must be part of our school curriculum to help students to be good stewards of our land and resources. The unit will give Iowa teachers the tools to do so now and many years in the future." - Diane Moritz, 5th/6th grade science and 5th grade language arts teacher, Wilton Elementary, Wilton, IA

Instructions for the Teacher:
The teacher’s document is 35 pages, consisting of background information and four sections corresponding with the student notebook. It includes a brief history of wickiups and the Meskwaki Tribe. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site, Bell Site in Wisconsin are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeological Notebook:
The student notebook is 39 pages of articles and activities about the Bell Wickiup Site. Mr. Johnathan Buffalo guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology, the study of historic photographs, and oral histories students learn about the importance of the wickiup in past and present communities.


When you buy Investigating a Midwestern Wickiup you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and access to online introductory videos.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as the Crow Plains Tipi. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and Investigating a Midwestern Wickiup is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology. More information

Investigating Shelter videos are a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.

    1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
    2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
    3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
    4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
    5. Lesson Six: Context Game
    6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist