Tracks and traces


On Thursday 14th May CBN visited Elizabethfontein Primary School, over the Pakhuis Pass from Clanwilliam. Many older children attend workshops in Clanwilliam, but the school has requested class visits for children in the younger grades. We began with Grade Four.

Our theme for May has been to link the signs followed by hunters in the wild with the signs studied by archaeologists looking at how people lived in the past. And to look at the ways in which both are scientific in different ways.

For this workshop we read and enjoyed a story called Bau and the Baobab about a small girl playing hide and seek in the Northern Namibian veld with her older siblings. They are modern San children, but using the traditional skills of tracking familiar to their parents and grandparents and many geneerations before that. Bau sees tracks, in the soft grey dust, of meercat, ostrich, hornbill, duiker, mouse and tortoise. She even sees the prints of a giraffe in the soft grey dust. When she thinks she might have seen the tracks of an elephant, the children (who have been watching her all along) spring out from their hiding places and tell her to come and play another game. The elephant watches quietly from behing=d her tree where she has been playing a hide and seek game of her own.

We then looked at tracks in Louis Liebenberg’s book The Art of Tracking, the origins of science and considered the implications of hunting and gathering for a living. The children then drew tracks and imagined hunting scenarios. A fine time was had by all!

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