Stone Age

This list supports the teaching of science through the topic of The Stone Age. It provides a link from the topic to different aspects of science taught with this age group.  ideas and resources for The Stone Age to science topics such as:  plants , soils , rocks , fossils, magnets, sound, light and animals, including humans.

Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
https://www.stem.org.uk/cross-curricular-topics-resources

 

Links and Resources

Feeding Stonehenge (Primary Resources)

Six activities created using evidence from scientists and archaeologists working at sites close to Stonehenge. Activities link to learning about teeth, a balanced diet, the digestive system and working scientifically, all set in the context of the  Stone Age.  They may be used when learning about Stone Age, or when learning about teeth, food and diet.

publication year
2010 to date

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Cross-curricular science ideas web: Stone Age

Nine ideas for incorporating science teaching into the topic Stone Age. The ideas webs can be used to support topic planning, offering opportunities to show how science could fit within the topic.

publication year
2010 to date

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Fossil Hunter

Fossils 2

This is a ready-to-go activity which involves children thinking about what each fossil might have been and also what each one might tell fossil hunters about the past. Print out the fossil photo cards with information on the back of them and put them around the around the classroom. Children can then role-play fossil hunters, thinking about what each fossil might have been and also what each one might tell fossil hunters about the past. 

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Working with Rocks

Rocks 

The Stone Age people were recognised and often cateogorised in such cartoons as The Flintstones for their use of tools and weapons made from a variety of rocks. Although originally the use of spears with sharp flint heads were used consistently when they were hunter gathers but as they began to develop into farmers their use of the wider variety of  tools increased .

What properties would the rocks need in order to suit the needs of Stone Age man for grinding flour, creating sparks for the fire or as a sharp tool for spears etc ?

Using a variety of rocks compare and contrast which rock types would be the best for making tool heads for farming or for hunting?

Which is the strongest rock ? How could we design an investigation to test this ?

Which rock would be most suitable for grinding flour ? 

They also used rocks for an important part of their lives -that of creating fire . Which rock would be best for creating fire ? How would they test this ? 

This resource contains practical activity ideas and background knowledge for teachers on rocks.

publication year
1990 - 1999

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What on Earth?

Soils 

Comparing soil samples to decide which would be the most suitable soil to grow food crops in.

Which soil type allows the seeds to germinate most successfully?

Which would be a good place for a Stone Age group of people to settle in when only considering the soil type in order to cultivate the soil and grow crops?

This resource contains a range of different activities based on the theme of ‘Earth’. Activity 5 is based around a range of investigations on different soil types.

publication year
2010 to date

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Having Fun Growing Plants

Plants

Stone Age people developed from a way of life of being hunter gathers to  starting  a new way of life into  actually becoming farmers .This began a new way of living and obtaining food with cultivation of  the soil to grow crops for the first time so they had to experiment with a range of seeds. This is a great opportunity to look at plant growth and soils.

What are the best conditions to grow plants for food?

What plants can be classified as root crops, cereals etc?

Which parts of the plants are used as food sources?

Which soil type allows the seeds to germinate most successfully?

This activity gives children a chance to bring their own ideas and materials and try to grow some plants from their seeds.Children bring in all kinds of seeds such as: conkers, acorns, and apple pips, provide the conditions for germination and observe them over time to see if they begin to grow. Some ‘seeds’ are likely to be more successful than others, but a little exploring and watching what happens can bring its own surprises and excitement.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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Forces and magnets: amazing magnets

Magnets 

History tells us that the Stone Age finished and merged into the Bronze Age following the discovery of metals. This could be an opportunity to look at metals and ask the question, 'Are all metals magnetic?' 

This activity includes a full lesson plan and everything you need to run the activity in class. Introduce children to the mysteries of magnetic forces, then investigate which materials are magnetic.

This short clip explains how magnets work by using their poles to either attract or repel objects. It also shows that the two poles which are the same will repel each other, and the two poles which are different will attract each other.

Children often think that all metals are magnetic so showing that only metals which contain iron, nickel or cobalt are magnetic helps children to see that not all metals are magnetic.

publication year
2010 to date

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Changing Sounds

Sound 

There are many links to the topic of sound that can be made when learning about the  Stone Age, the following activities may be run in class following viewing this short video which looks at how to change the pitch on a drum:

  • During the period of the Stone Age when the people of that time were hunting they would often identify the animals which they were following or hunting by the noise they made , just the same as how we as humans can identify who is talking to us on the phone by their voice . Investigate how far sound travels; you could further investigate this by plotting a graph showing how different sounds can be heard at greater distances than others. You could then go on to investigate why that is.
  • It is thought that the Stone Age people also used sounds as part of their religious rituals where they played a range of drums which had animal skins used to make the surface of the drum which is played -that is where the term 'drum skin' came from 

           Can you make a simple set of drums with different pitches ?

           Does the sound change if you use a drumstick with a different head to it?

           Does the size or tightness of drum-skin make a different sound ?

           How  does the size, depth , shape or material of the drum shell affect the pitch or volume of the sound ?

  • As the Stone Age people began to settle down more in one place so they began to use music for enjoyment . Not only did they have the drums which they also used for religious purposes but they also began to use a range of other handmade instruments which rattled such as those made from dried pumpkin shells etc.

       How can you change the pitch of a rattle ?

       Can you change the volume of a rattle?

This video is designed for teaching pupils about pitch and how it may be changed. A professional group of drummers show a class how the tightness of the drum skin and the size of a drum affect the pitch of the instrument. This could be used as an introduction when learning about sound and pitch of instruments. Children could then investigate how to alter the pitch of various instruments and explain how they have done this.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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Making Shadows

Light 

The Stone Age period is primarily famous in the UK for the construction of Stonehenge in Wiltshire .There are various differing theories around why Stonehenge was constructed some believe that it was for religious reasons others believe it was to track  the movement of the moon. 

In the playground can you create a miniature Stonehenge? How are the shadows created? What happens to the shadows it creates during the day? How do they change? If we monitored this for a month would the shadows change even if they were recorded at the same time if the day?

When archaeologists discovered cave paintings believed to have been drawn by Stone Age man it helped to prove the theory that the Stone Age people were able to create a light source e.g. fire.  You could use this as a puzzle to help the children begin to think :

How did Stone Age Man get light into the dark dingy caves in order to create their paintings?

What light sources do we use nowadays?

This activity can be used as an introduction to shadows made by the Sun, or to model the path of the Sun across the sky. It looks at how shadows are formed and what affects their size, direction and shape.

publication year
2010 to date

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Fera resources: classification

Animals

Considering the vast areas which the Stone Age people lived in not only Europe but also Asia, Africa, America  and Australasia this gives the children opportunities to investigate and study a range of different habitats due to climatic differences , and how this affects the animals and plants which live there.

Research the types of animals which were around in the Stone Age and then create a simple classification key to identify the animals in that period or otherwise to extend it into comparing and contrasting the sabre tooth tiger for example compared to the Siberian tiger etc then create a further classification key to identify prehistoric animals compared to the modern day equivalent.

Grouping and classification of animals from the Stone Age using their own criteria to create simple classification keys would also be a great link into this cross curricular area. They could then compare this to the actual way in which the groups of animals have been sorted.

This  resource supports learning about how living things can be classified into groups scientifically. Activities are based around tasks carried out in the ‘real world’ by scientists working for organisations such as Fera. The children can use these as a base and then create their own classification/ Top Trumps of different kinds of animals.

publication year
2010 to date

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