Archive for the ‘
Native American Indians Unit ’ Category
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about finding an ‘arrowhead‘ (really a hafted knife point) in the woods right behind our house. Yesterday morning we had the county archaeologist over to survey the site where we found the hafted knife. He examined it closely and said it was most likely a Piscataway Stemmed Point. We then took him into the woods to show him the site where it was found. He found several flakes that show that stone tools were indeed made in the woods near where we found the knife.
The archaeologist spent a lot of time talking to the kids and me about how stone tools were made, showing us this illustration which shows flakes being methodically chipped away:
He said the piece we found was probably made sometime between 1500 B.C. and 800 A.D.
He was so full of information about the tool-making process, about Native Americans of the region, about the landscape and changes in the past 500 years. We also learned so much about what his job entails as a county archaeologist. It was a really great learning experience.
Meanwhile, we continue to excel in our naturalist studies! Does that count as a school subject?!
Over the weekend we found two turtles. One is a male that was wandering around in the woods.
The males have red eyes.
While I was weeding in the front garden, we came across a juvenile turtle. It was SO cute!
She quickly scuttled away when we put her down.
We were so excited when we noticed that one of the tadpoles in our homemade pond actually made it out of the water! It still had a long tail, but spends most of its time on a rock or on the side of the enclosure. It’s so great to see the process from eggs, to tadpoles, to froggie youth!
In the picture above there’s a bad picture of some of the tadpoles. LD scooped them up with the pink net but I was so anxious about letting them go again that I didn’t realize the picture was blurry and (gasp) only took one photo! In the others you see the little froglet. ED has her hand near one so you can see just how tiny it is (about the size of your thumbnail).
We also came across a garter snake that morning:
And a really pretty-looking mushroom in our yard:
I’m not even going to pretend I know a thing about mushrooms, so can’t identify it for you!
We spent some lovely time at the park over the weekend:
The girls spent lots of time gathering mussel shells!
We topped off the weekend sleeping under the stars on top of the trampoline. We only saw a couple of meteors during the Perseid Meteor Showers, but it was fun listening to the night noises!
We still marvel at the greenery here (and obviously the varied creatures!) even though it’s been two years since we moved here. You can see the contrast with where we used to live in Alice Springs, Australia through this link.
I know I promised to share our homeschool plans for DD and LD (going into 2nd and 4th grades), but I haven’t made the time to sit down and do that yet. Guess I could have been doing that than writing this particular post, right?!! I have it mostly figured out so I should get to it pretty soon… hopefully this weekend.
Monday, July 30th, 2012
I’ve been bursting at the seams to write this post, but wanted to wait til I had more information before sharing our excitement! Can you believe, we found an arrowhead on our property?! Okay, so technically it’s not an arrowhead, more about that in a second.
The first thing we did was start googling to find out more information. I really didn’t know too much about arrowheads. I was only familiar with obsidian arrowheads of the west — and the metal ones a friend gave us years ago. It turns out arrowheads can be made of argillite, chalcedony, chert/flint, diorite, hematite, jasper, rhyolite, siltstone, crystal quartz, quartz, and quartzite.
We have a huge set of quartz boulders up at the top of the hill on our property so it makes sense to find one like this. Below is a picture of “Quartz Castle.” That’s what the kids named it when we first moved in. You can see part of LD’s “shelter” there on the right! We found the arrowhead just at the bottom of the hill.
The next morning I went out to take pictures of exactly where the arrowhead (the white one) was found. I noticed a couple of other pieces that also looked like they had been worked on by humans (pictured in the top pictures above and below right, lying on the moss before I picked it up).
We decided we should contact an expert to see a) what it was that we had found and b) to see if anyone records information like this and wants to know about people’s finds. I wrote the state archaeologist responsible for our region. I sent him pictures of the arrowhead we found as well as a couple of picture collages to show exactly where we found them.
The state archaeologist wrote back almost immediately and said that it did indeed look like a prehistoric artifact and was most likely a hafted knife. As for the other two pieces he said it was not possible to tell what they were but they may be debris from knapping stone tools. He then put me in contact with the archaeologist for our county. He’ll be coming out in the next week or so to complete an archaeological survey.
This week the kids have been really intrigued by archaeology so in addition to pulling out the books we had on hand, we also pulled out the collection a friend gave us a number of years ago to compare them to our find.
A few things we learned from this experience: If you make a discovery, you can contact your state archaeologist. Make sure you know exactly where you found the artifact. Don’t dig to hunt for artifacts because you could destroy valuable archaeological evidence. If you were to dig and mix the layers, no one would be able to assess the data accurately. Also be aware that it is almost always illegal to remove arrowheads or other artifacts from public lands.
Monday, July 9th, 2012
For the past two and a half weeks, I was on the road with the kids (we left hubby home working for much of the time). In yesterday’s post I talked about traveling with the kids in a general way. We did SO much on this trip! We visited 18 family members who are strewn throughout the midwest. I did some research before we left and fit in some educational side trips as well. We had made arrangements to meet up with close friends in Arkansas for a week. Since we had such a long (3 day) drive to get there, I wanted to arrive early. I researched a few things to do and settled on a couple of things outside of Little Rock (we camped to the west of Little Rock) before we met up with our friends in northeast Arkansas. For those of you aren’t certain where Arkansas is, here’s a map (courtesy of wikimedia). The Toltec Indian Mounds is an archaeological state park that has attracted interest for more than 100 years. Mrs. Gilbert Knapp, who owned the site from 1857 to 1900 mistakenly believed the mounds were associated with the Toltec people of Mexico. It turns out that the people who built the mounds had a culture that was quite distinct even from other contemporary groups in the area. They lived in permanent villages, fished, hunted and gathered wild foods. The mounds served as religious and social centers for people living in the surrounding countryside. It was hot when we were there. Actually it was VERY, VERY hot, so we didn’t do a long trek around the mounds, but we did walk along the shorter path to check them out.
Below is an artist’s impressions of what the mounds would have looked like from 600-1150A.D. I have a terrific picture–except for the fact that it’s blurry. So we’ll have to settle for this one; sorry for the intense flash! What the kids really loved were the interactive activities. The ranger was wonderful with the kids and really taught them a lot. The museum had all kinds of animal pelts that the kids could hold and try to identify. The kids got to try out a dart gun, handle various tools, and grind and pound corn.
In the museum there was a really good explanation of how archaeologists work in the excavation sites. The kids looked through the various tools, pottery shards and other displays.
Overall we really had a great time there!
Tomorrow I’ll share another side trip we did… learning about the plantation culture in the region (another terrific state park)… well, that’s what I’m hoping! I’m still unpacking plus the kids have some activities this week that are keeping me racing around.
I hope you’re having a terrific summer! If you’ve been busy and haven’t stopped by lately, remember you can see a synopsis of my blog posts over at my Facebook page. Or, just come stop by over there to say ‘hi’ — I love that too!
Saturday, July 9th, 2011
If you are studying the Amazon and are planning to do a lapbook, notebook or unit study, be sure to check out the fabulous work done by Dynamic 2 Moms. I was so impressed I just had to give a shout out! Scroll to the end of the page to see all their printouts. Wow!
Monday, April 18th, 2011
We continued to read The Corn Grows Ripe (about a Mayan boy and his family) this week and talked about life Mexico.
We read about these imaginative creatures called Alebrijes at this art lesson plan website. In Mexico these are carved from one piece. Since we had lots of woodscraps (I bought lots of wood craft kits of cars, bird houses etc. for 50cents back in December), this seemed like the perfect craft for us!
|ED’s creature (left)
|Hubby’s relatives were missionaries in Brazil years ago. In fact, his grandmother grew up in Brazil. Some branches of the family returned to the US and some still live in Brazil. Last week, Uncle J and Aunt M came back from a visit to Brazil. They brought LD some Indian weapons and a loin craft. Very timely! LD was very excited. Thank you Uncle J and Aunt M!