Thursday, May 14, 2009

Night At The Museum History Unit - Time for the Neanderthals

Being proponents of a young earth, we obviously aren't going to buy into the depiction of the apelike caveman from Night At The Museum. We did enjoy their quest for fire though. But, despite our own convictions, Neanderthals are a part of "history" that will have to be addressed sooner or later.

Trying to put together a brief study for the children on these guys, I quickly learned that Christian or not, there's only one thing scientists seem really certain about when it comes to prehistoric man - "most, if not all, of the other scientists are completely off base!" I'm pretty sure in all the name calling, some learned men, were actually suggesting that others from their peer group might themselves be Neanderthals. While that was all very interesting, it wasn't very helpful for our study.

We decided to do a little role playing. The children were to take on the characters of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I asked them to imagine they had just left the ark. Noah, their father, was preparing to offer a burnt sacrifice. They were supposed to go back to the ark to fetch some matches. The problem being...they forgot to pack the what? These boys were pretty old. Do you think they might have remembered that fire starting lesson from their boy scouting days?

I had planned to follow this up by asking my husband to do a little impromptu lesson on fire starting for the kids after dinner. Of course, it's pouring down rain now, so it looks like we'll have to stick with the gas fireplace. Really, in retrospect, I'm not sure it would have been such a good idea to pass along the knowledge of fire to our six little Neanderthal impersonators.

We did get a chance to look through some of the "scientific" finds of the past. We especially liked Java Man, who was reconstructed from one leg bone, a skull cap, a fragment of a jaw bone, and three teeth. I guess this is another example of history and art coming together. And of course, we wouldn't want to forget Piltdown Man (we decided he was probably the guy left outside the museum at daybreak, who turned into dust).

Speaking of Piltdown Man, I'm reminded of another quote from the movie, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..."

It's great to be a homeschooler!

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