January 19, 2018

Hunter-Gatherer or Agricultural Settlement?

Using LEGO blocks to study prehistoric lifestyles.If you lived in 5000 BC, would you prefer to be a hunter-gatherer or live in an agricultural settlement?

This was the question explored by Ms. Ballard’s 6-8 team social studies class.

And what tool did they use to consider the advantages and disadvantages of these two lifestyles? LEGO®, of course! 

Every person alive today is a descendant of expert hunter-gatherers who lived before 10000 BCE. They moved around based on the time of the year and the distribution of their foods, animals as well as fruits and grains.  This lifestyle did not allow people to reside in a permanent home or to have many possessions.

As they learned how to maintain a herd of animals and to harvest crops, however, people ceased their nomadic lifestyle and established settlements, allowing homes to be built and objects such as pottery and furniture to be made.

So, which life-style would you prefer: that of the hunter-gatherer or the agricultural settlement?

To more fully explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, students used LEGO® to build depictions of each lifestyle. Consider, for example:

The life of the hunter-gatherer included regular, moderate exercise and a balanced diet of seasonal fruits, vegetables and nuts. By necessity people lived and traveled in small groups, had limited possessions, and, if they didn’t like their neighbors, they just moved on.

People living in agricultural settlements became dependent on crops and animal herds, and lived with the possibility of famine if bad weather or disease caused crops to fail and animals to die. An increased labor was needed to maintain the crops and herds, and people also had to deal with the issue of how to store and guard the food in case of future famines. And as territorial issues began to arise, governments were established to manage resources and resolves conflicts . . . .

So, again, which life-style would you prefer: that of the hunter-gatherer or the agricultural settlement?