Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stone Tool Expo

I'm taking a quick break from retelling the book A Thomas Jefferson Education. Basically, in Elementary ages, the author suggests that students learn to read, learn basic math facts, and learn how to write.  Beyond this, he says children need to explore their environment.   Over the past couple of weeks, that is what we have been doing - exploring.  Even better, we've been able to go with our neighbors, who also homeschool - and, as an added bonus, my neighbor is so much better about taking pics than I am!  I would like to take a couple of blogs to share our recent field trips, as well as prove that these trips are very education, not just for fun (although they certainly were fun, as well!).

Babygirl and I have just started studying simple machines in Science.  In preparation for that, we have been looking at various tools which people use today and in the past.  Fortunately, a Stone Tool Expo was held at a lake about 30-45 minutes from our home, so we made it a point to go. 

They had a tepee set up to demonstrate how they create stone arrowheads and other tools without the use of metal implements.  At the time we walked past, however, the demonstrators from several tents were surrounding one demonstrator, who apparently was much more skilled than they, because they spent most of the time we were there around this guy instead of "manning" their booths.  This was good for us, because we were able to take a fun pic of all the kids inside the demonstration tepee.

As we looked at the various booths, we were slightly distracted by the riding stables across the road.  Of course, we had to go investigate (with permission from the owners, of course!).

Notice the name of the storage shed in the back of the property.  I think I have a "Black Hole" at my house - it's called the garage!

They had bins of inexpensive glass arrowheads, colored whatever color they wanted.  They made great souvenirs.  (yes, we left the "Stone Tool Expo" with glass tools - go figure!)

 Babygirl had to pick a pink arrowhead, of course!

We tried our hand at pottery, as well.  Our neighbors got much more interested in it than Babygirl did.

Babygirl got distracted from the clay to play her other souvenir - her reed flute (no, it's not stone, either).

She added background music for our friends, who made some beautiful pots (sorry, I didn't get pics of those).  Babygirl thoroughly enjoyed playing her flute, and tried to get creative about which side of her mouth made the best sounds.

We had a fabulous time at the Stone Tool Expo. We learned how they use one rock to "break" an arrowhead out of rock (and I guess other demonstrators learned this, as well, based on their questions for the "Master Rock Breaker," as I named the guy who attracted all the attention). We saw turtleshell purses, made from real turtle shells, and lots of other primative tools made of various natural materials.  Was it worth spending 2 hours (once we found the Expo, we found we had come the long way to get there!) in a car with 5 children (I guess the 11 month old didn't make it in any of my pics)?  Absolutely!  Nothing can beat true hands-on exploration when you're trying to learn something new!

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