Section Five

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What Clothes are Made from

This is a short section which introduces the idea of natural materials such as wool and leather. It also shows and example of a sheep.

Extension work with the teacher might look at sheep farming and some types of sheep (see Farming 3rd/4th)

Children will learn about natural materials and how they are obtained.

Wool is commonly obtained from the fleece of a sheep, although the fleece of goats (e.g. angora) and llamas (e.g. alpaca) are also used. The fleece, which is usually sheared once a year, is then cleaned and washed. Long strands are spun together by a machine to make a long length of thread called a yarn. In the past this was done by hand on a spindle or a spinning wheel. The wool is then dyed, and woven or knitted to become clothes, carpets and curtains .

Children could find out basic information about the cotton crop and about a cotton-producing country such as India. Example: Cotton comes from the cotton plant, grown in hot wet countries. It is grown in more than 80 countries in the world. It needs a long sunny growing season and weather than is without frost for about 180 days or half a year. At harvest time the seedpod bursts open to reveal white fluffy fibre. Like wool, this is then cleaned, spun, dyed and woven into fabric.

Samples of clothing made of cotton could be placed on display.

Linen also comes from a plant. The flax stem is soaked in water, dried and then crushed. The fibres are then spun into linen.