Today was not just any ‘typical’ teaching day. Not like any day teaching a group of grade 5/6’s would be typical anyway. However, today was extra awesome because it was a ‘field trip’ day!
The field trip was located at ‘Gilmore Farm’ north of Regina, but the field trip itself took place on the Gilmore land, not far from their current farm. This land has so much history in terms of Saskatchewan’s past. I got a sense right from the very first stop that the students were excited for the day and eager to learn! After a couple quick stops along the way to discuss glacial morraines and a barn built by original British settlers, we were at our destination!
When I first heard we were going on a field trip to a buffalo jump, I thought it was just that. A simple buffalo
jump. But this was so much more. Our morning started at the top of the ‘cliff’ where we talked about how
past First Nation people would chase buffalo over the cliff, resulting in a very successful hunt. We slowly and carefully made our way to the bottom of the jump where we spent some time digging up buffalo bones. The tour guide, Fred, had strategically placed a buffalo skull for a group of girls to find. They were the envy of the class! As we continued our hike Fred pointed out native berries still on trees and invited the kids to eat them. Of course they were more than willing!
However, Fred warned that if you ate the seeds you would get something that translates to ‘itchy bum’ or if you ate too many choke cherries you would get the ‘runs.’ I laughed way too hard at both of these descriptions and decided I would stay away from the edible berries for the day.
Our next stop put the students to work! They were split into two teams where they had to construct a
traditional First Nation travois and then trasnport teams members in a relay type race. I must first say that
Fred had given them an earlier lesson on how to ‘lace’ the travois, but I was still very impressed by how quickly they were able to do it! Both teams were very successful and it came right down to the wire to determine the winner. The next relay race involved ‘strapping’ a beaver hide container to their foreheads and racing back and forth without the use of their hands. This again involved some technique but the students caught on in no time!
Next it was game time! We played ‘Owl and Mouse’ and ‘Wild Turkey Hunt’. One student, in my eyes, beat the whole game by hiding in plain sight underneath his jacket, having many students walk right past him and having no clue he was there! He was definitely thinking ‘outside of the box!’
We ended the day by shooting bows and arrows as well as spears with atlatls. Fred made both appear much easier than they were. I thought I was strong until I pulled back the string of a bow!
This field trip was a great experience for the kids. They had smiles all day long and were willing to do anything, including eating live fly larva (which two students did)! Plus, they learned a lot! This field trip incorporated things from phys ed, treaty ed, social studies and science! It was an amazing experience, and I recommend any teachers in the Regina area to definitely bring their students there!