Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cheerful Chumash Assembly

By Taylor S., James, Lexi, and Jonah,

At our school, we experienced a fabulous assembly about the Native American tribe, the Chumash. In this assembly, we smashed acorns into flour, made string with yucca leaves, helped grind a Chumash bowl, tried to make fire, and created a rock art necklace.

Smashing Acorns

At the acorn station, we cracked acorns to make acorn flour. First, we took an acorn and cracked it out of its shell with two rocks.

Then we smashed the inside of the acorn into a powdery mixture.

Finally, we reached our goal… FLOUR!


Yucca String

At another station we pounded yucca leaves.

After that, we soaked them in water for two minutes.

Once that was done, we separated the fibers and put them in a stack.

Later, we sat down all together and rolled the fibers together which made a sticky, but strong yucca string!

Beautiful Stone Bowls

The Chumash made their bowls by scraping sandstone with another rock. This was harder than it sounds though. A Chumash Native American would work on one bowl for a few years before it was finished!

They would start by searching for a round piece of sandstone. With another rock, they would scrape and scrape the sandstone until it was a deep bowl.

That’s a very long, but easy process. The powder from the rock looked like this.
Can you imagine having to do all that to have one small bowl?

Fire Station

At this station we used a spindle and a fire board to build a warm, cosy fire. First, we took the spindle and placed it in a hole in the fireboard. Next, we spun the spindle between our hands.

The friction caused the point of the spindle to heat up.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, no one was able to create a fire.

Rock Art

The Chumash were famous for their rock art. We were able to create rock necklaces using red berries (a red Sharpie) and coal (a black Sharpie).

Everyone drew their own unique design.

We even got to taste a few Chumash foods like chia seeds.

The terrific Chumash assembly was not only fun, but educational too!


  1. Dear Taylor S., Jonah, James and Lexi,
    What a difficult life the Chumash had. They were quite industrious in using acorns for flour and very creative to think of making string from yucca. You did a great job describing the hard work that went into some of their everyday tasks. Did any of you like the chia seeds? Keep blogging, I learn more every day! Mrs. Kumar

  2. Dear Mrs. Kumar,

    Thank you for such a wonderful comment! I liked the chia seeds they offered us. The little seeds swelled up when you put them in your mouth. (They also tasted a little like watermelon!)

    You are one of our loyal fans!
    Thank you!
    Mrs. Yollis

  3. Dear Jonah, James, Taylor S., and Lexi,

    I can’t believe that it takes so long to make just a bowl!


  4. Dear Class,
    Please invite me if you ever have another Chumash Assembly…It looks very interesting.

    Warren's Mom Carolyn

  5. Dear Jonah, James, Taylor S., and Lexi,

    I loved how you put the vivid verbs in the Chumash paragraph. I also like how you got to grind the limestone.

    Shane J. :D

  6. Dear Class,
    I thought the assembly was really fun. I hope you all liked it too.
    From, Matthew


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