June 18, 2005

Atlatl and Petroglyph Field Trip

Today we spent the day on an excellent field trip. It was a long drive for us but worth it for the activities we got to participate in. The kids got to each make their own atlatl or spear thrower. They made them pretty much from scratch After putting it all together they were able to draw symbols on them and then test them out with spears on a buffalo target - funny being vegetarian.

It was quite tough for Ciaran as his fingers barely wrapped around his atlatl - but with quite a bit of assistance from me and a volunteer he was able to manage and he hit his target twice - sufficient to receive the certificate of "buffalo hunter" just what they always needed. Rhiannon did quite well on her own and they did have to move the target line up for her but she managed to make three hits for her certificate. I even tried two throws and I was terrible!

We spent quite awhile looking at traditional artifacts that might have been used by Native Americans - Ciaran's favorite was the wood and stone weapon and Rhiannon's were the moccassins. Sirah just enjoyed being able to touch everything. All of the kids were amazed by the sign that said "Please touch - hands on" they both asked me and looked to me for assurance that they really could touch all this cool stuff!

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the site and looking at the petroglyphs. We had watched a brief introductory video which helped the kids understand more of what petroglyphs are and how a simple picture can represent a story and how those carvings are the written history of a generation of people. We compared our blogging/writing history/photos to the carvings they used and how people want to make records of their life and how amazing it is that these lasted. When they asked why we could not walk on parts of the rocks I explained how it could damage those carvings and we would lose the history. Just as we would not damage our photos we should not damage their history.

The kids were much more interested in this than I really thought they would be. I took them there thinking much of this might go over their heads and that it could be a flop - they might have been too young. While I will concede that they did not get as much out of it as an older child might have they did enjoy themselves, learn and develop an apprecaition for the petroglyphs and how hard it must have been to hunt with an atlatl and a spear. I believe they learned a lot and they did enjoy themselves and have fun. Not once did they ask to go home or stop doing what we were - they only seemed to ask for more. It was a good day even with the nearly 6 hours spent in the car roundtrip!

We also listened to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and A Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis as well as another book on tape in the Arthur series by Marc Brown. I could hardly believe we listened to three books on tape! Ciaran and Sirah of course slep through parts of this but Rhia listened to all of them. She also read 6 storybooks to Ciaran and Sirah on the drive. They were well behaved and we even stopped for ice cream along the way! A good day was had by us all.


No comments:

Post a Comment