The ancient peoples of Moab used their ingenuity to survive in this harsh desert environment. They used the resources around them to make their lives easier and build simple machines. Earlier this month, third-graders from Helen M. Knight Elementary School and the Moab Charter School learned how to use these machines in Culvert Canyon near Moab during an outing with the Canyon Country Outdoor Education Program (CCOE).
During the field trip students moved between four different scientific stations. In one, students learned to make a fire by using a fire bow and drill. While learning this primitive survival technique, the children learned that the bow and drill acted as a wheel and axle, creating the friction necessary to start a wood fire. At the next station, students learned to identify different stone tools, such as the mano and metate, and how this first-class lever can grind corn and other hard seeds.
With digging sticks in hand, students then learned how Ancient Puebloan farmers used these sticks as first-class levers to dig for roots. The third-grade students also discovered the perils of hunting in ancient times and discussed how ancient peoples overcame these problems by using tools like the atlatl as a lever to launch darts over long distances. Students then discussed the similarities and difference between hunting during these earlier times and hunting today.
The CCOE program, a partnership between Grand County School District and the National Park Service, aims to help students safely experience and understand the natural and cultural resources of local national parks and surrounding areas, while also enhancing the state science curriculum. Students participate in a variety of learning-based field trips throughout the year, and parents are welcome to also take part.