Stone Age to Iron Age activity 1: investigating Stone Age technology
Children learn about Stone Age technology including flint tools and weapons, fire, clothing and pottery.
They discover how to knap a flint tool or weapon out of a bar of soap!
Other fun activity ideas to try include making simple prehistoric bows and arrows, and creating tools for hunting, fishing, butchery and gathering using Mesolithic microliths!
Increased knowledge and understanding of Stone Age hunters and farmers, archaeology, flint tools and weapons.
Design technology skills.
KS1-2 History (Stone Age).
KS1-2 Design technology (Make and test a stone Age tool or weapon)
Use these as a hook. Tell the children these mystery objects were dug up by archaeologists in Kent (on Folkestone East Cliff and at Swanscombe) and are in the collection at Folkestone Museum.
Ask the children about the mystery objects. You can use the following questions:
- What’s this strange object?
- What material do you think it’s made from?
- Have you seen any like it before? Where?
- How do you think it was made?
- How would you describe the shape?
- Is this a clue as to what it might have been used for?
- How do you think it was used?
- By who and when?
- Is anything missing that would have been needed to make it work?
- What do you think’s happened to the missing bit?
- Why is there writing and numbers on the objects?
- When do you think this was added?
Through this discussion, introduce the children to the subject of prehistoric people and how we know about their lives from the evidence they left behind.
The children can then use the Learn with Objects website independently to find out more about these particular artefacts, and report back.
This can be included as part of a wider investigation of the Stone Age, using the excellent background information, lesson plans and activity ideas in The Stone Age - a teaching resource for Key Stage 2 created by archaeologist and educator Penny Bernard for Canterbury Christ Church University.
Lesson 9: Stone Age Technology (pages 83-90) explores flint tools and weapons, fire, clothing and pottery
This link includes some relevant worksheets
Here are some images to use
Below are links to other resources you can use with your class.
Listen as an archaeologist explains the importance of flint and see how a prehistoric arrow was made in this BBC video
And here’s some of the animals that were around in the last Ice Age. Which ones would you be hunting and why?
This activity gives children the opportunity to discover in a fun, safe and interactive way, how prehistoric people made tools - by carving soap, instead of knapping flint - and the evidence this activity left behind.
We suggest the children make a soap hand-axe, inspired by the examples from Swanscombe at Stone Age to Iron Age 13: handy rocks.
See link below (page 6-7, Soap Knapping) for full details. With thanks to Cresswell Crags and the Young Archaeologists Club.
Make a prehistoric bow and arrow
There are many good online resources on how to make a simple bow and arrow.
The end of the arrow should be a ball of cotton wool wrapped in fabric and fastened with a rubber band. Dip this tip of the arrow in red paint (blood!) so you can see where the arrow hit the target. Or have different colours for different teams! You may want to do this activity outdoors.
More advanced bow and arrow making here:
Making tools with microliths
This resource introduces the Mesolithic period and the use of tiny flint flakes called microliths. It includes a wonderful activity in which children make their own microliths, then haft them onto pieces of wood to create specific tools for hunting, fishing, butchery and gathering. See pages 26-37:
Learn with Objects links
Use Stone Age to Iron Age 1 and Stone Age to Iron Age 9. Also useful is Rocks and Fossils 9 and 11, with Rocks and Fossils Resources activity 10.