The fourth graders at our school are learning about the Oregon Trail. The classroom has been divided into "wagon train" groups who are earning "buffalo chips" as they make their way across the continent. While making up their supply list for the journey, they had to make decisions about what is essential and what is a luxury; what goes and what stays behind. When they came to the spinning wheel on the list, most didn't have any idea what it is, let alone how it could be considered an essential.
So Miss Janet brought in her wheel and lots of raw wool to play with. As you can see from the photos, many of them actually got some pretty good yarn going, just spinning with their fingers and winding it onto a pencil. One boy even "dyed" his yarn with his felt-tipped markers!
After the spinning demo and hands-on experience with the wool, more of the kids decided a spinning wheel might be more of an essential for the pioneers than they once thought. And hopefully seeds have been planted for future spinners!