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An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Early Humans

Students in 5th Grade have been learning about early humans, and the transition from Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) to Neolithic (New Stone Age) life. One of the best ways for students to understand the experiences of prehistoric people is to engage in some of the same activities they would have, and in Art class, 5th Graders have been constructing functional vessels using coil building, an ancient clay sculpting technique. Students got a sense of how pots and other tableware were built prior to the invention of the pottery wheel as they rolled, stacked and joined coils of clay, then used hand sculpting to create accompanying utensils. After a trip to the kiln, these functional pieces will be glazed, decorated and taken home to share with students’ families.

In addition to their creative work in the Art Room, 5th Graders in Group 309 engaged in a Social Studies mapping activity this week in which the landscape of the map and the tokens students placed on the map represented the shift that occurred when early humans began farming. This slowly changed the course of human history, as people changed from nomadic hunting and gathering to growing their own food. As students added each new token to the map, they saw how each change had a ripple effect on how early humans lived­ – toward the start of civilization as we know it!