This past Friday, Mrs. Glassberg’s Sixth-Grade Social Studies class traveled back approximately 8,000 years in time, to enjoy a “Neolithic Picnic”. The feast was the culminating event to a unit of study tracing the development of mankind from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a society based on agriculture, on the brink of civilization. Students came to understand the derivation of the era's name as they had the opportunity to use mortars and pestles, as well as an actual stone as a grinding tool. They quickly realized the difficulty first hand of grinding wheat into flour before the age of Cuisinart! Indeed, as they tried to grind wheat berry seeds into flour, and to grind spices such as coriander seed and fennel seed, a new sense of appreciation for the difficulty of maintaining a food supply developed. Our typical menu of grain and berries expanded this year thanks to a recent excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Fava bean seeds, as well as chickpeas and lentils, were discovered at the Middle East site and dated to the Neolithic Era. As a result of these discoveries, we added northern white beans mixed with cooked wheat berries, as well as hummus to our menu. The students ate this feast without utensils, using stone-ground pita as a “spoon”,and truly enjoyed the feast! Hopefully, a memory of this unit emerged that will remain with each student for many years to come!
Here is a sampling of sentiments from the students:
Jared Pomerlan : "They had to live on this food to survive. They depended on it!"
Joshua Kakovsky: "The food was more advanced than I thought. Actually grinding the food is very different than seeing a picture of a mortar and pestle in a textbook!"
Benjamin Bank: " I didn't realize they had to work so hard for food! Just to grind it is so much work!"
Noah Holand:"What they ate was different- stone-ground pita tastes different than more processed food!"
Jack Simon:"No matter how far back you go- food tastes good- especially the wheat seeds and beans!"
Daniella Atiya: " I didn't think they had beans..."
Leeor Ginzburg:"It was hard to find food and make it usable to eat!"
Kaylee Maines:" It is hard to grind!!"
Ariella Burnstein:" The hummus that they ate did not come in plastic containers but it was still like the hummus we eat today..."
Ezra Shafron:"Primitive-people had to spend the entire day trying to get food! Today we take it for granted. Flour was basic and hard to get!!"
By: Mrs. Glassberg
Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Social Studies Coordinator