Lesson Plan

Early American Activities

Grade Level:
Third Grade-Seventh Grade
Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies
2 or 3 class periods
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
NC: Sci:3rd, 4;5th, 2; 7th, 4 Math:3rd, 2.06; 4th, 2.07; SS 8.1.2 SC: Sci 3rd-I-A, B: IV-A, 4th- I-A, B; 5th- I-A, C; IV - A; 6th- I-A; 7th- I-A; 8th I-A Math  3rd V-A, C; 4th V-A, B, F; 5th V-A, B, D, F; 6th V-A, B, C, D, F; 7th A, D, E, H, I


GOAL:To give students the opportunity to relate how early settlers used the knowledge of their ancestors to make some of the necessities needed for survival in the early South Carolina frontier.
Early American Activities.


The student will be able to describe or demonstrate the making of soap, the making of butter, and the constructing of a pomander ball.
The student will be able to arrange steps or directions in sequential order. The student will relate how important these early activities are to our society today.


Early Settlers in South Carolina had to make many of the supplies they needed for everyday life. Frontier women were usually left with many of these chores.

One thing that women had to do was to make soap and butter for the family, but some things were made for the simple pleasure of the women. One of these was the pomander ball. Fragrant pomander balls were often hidden in baskets or placed in different parts of the house to hide unpleasant odors resulting from cooking. Colonial women sometimes placed pomander balls in their handkerchiefs when traveling. These sweet and fragrant smells could hide the odors found in the streets they traveled.


rubber gloves
14 oz. vegetable oil
6 oz. lye (also called caustic soda)
candy thermometer
wax paper
3-quart pot (use stainless steel, glass, or enamel — NOT aluminum)
wooden spoon
1-quart pot 32 oz. bottle of olive oil
2 cups water (rain water works well)
shoe box
shirt cardboard

1. Cover the working area with newspaper. Heat the olive oil and shortening together in the large pot over low heat. Stir with the wooden spoon.
2. Dissolve the lye flakes in the water on the small pot. (DO NOT let the children handle the lye! Wear rubber gloves to protect the skin. If any comes in contact with skin, wash with cold water and rinse with vinegar or lemon juice.)
3. Use the thermometer to check the temperature in both mixtures. When the oil reaches exactly 96 degrees, pour the lye mixture into the oil. Pour slowly and evenly and stir steadily — not too fast or too slow. (This is the trickiest step — if the temperature and stirring speed are just right, the oil and the lye will come together to make soap.)
4.Continue stirring for at least 15 minutes until the mixture is thick. If lumps develop, put the pot on very low heat and continue to stir.
5. Pour the mixture into a shoe box lined with wax paper. Cut a piece of shirt cardboard to fit in the box and cover the mixture.
6. After a day or two, cut the soap into small bars. Place them on wax paper so air can circulate around the pieces. Let the bars age for three or four weeks, then invite the children to use them as hand soap.

1 pint of heavy, chilled cream
clean baby food jars and lids
soda crackers (optional) knife to spread the butter

1. Fill the jars to 2/3 full with the cream.
2. Cap the jars tightly.
3. Have the students take turns shaking the cream.
4. When a hardened butter ball appears in the jar, stop shaking.
5. Drain the remaining liquid from the jar. This remaining liquid is buttermilk.
6. Take the butter and spread it on the crackers.
7. Enjoy eating the butter!!

apple, orange, lime, or lemon
whole clove
piece of cheesecloth
piece of yarn or string

1. Use the toothpick to prick holes in the skin of the fruit. Place a clove in the hole. Repeat this process, making sure the fruit is covered with the cloves. Be careful not to break the skin of the fruit between the cloves.
2. Stick the tips of the hairpin into the fruit at the stem; then roll the fruit in a bowl of cinnamon.
3. Place the fruit on the cheesecloth. Fold the corners of the cheesecloth together and twist them around the hairpin. Tie the folded top of the cheesecloth using a piece of the yarn or string; then tie a ribbon bow around the yarn.
4.Allow the fruit to dry in a cool, dark place for a few weeks, or until the fruit hardens. Prick small holes in the cheesecloth. Then place the pomander ball in a closet or in a drawer.