Columbia children get chance to learn about history of the world

Saturday, March 9, 2013 | 6:36 p.m. CST; updated 7:25 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 11, 2013
Families with young children headed to Rock Bridge High School for an educational event put on by Columbia Public Schools and faculty members from MU’s departments of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences and Anthropology.

COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge High School attracted a younger-than-usual crowd Saturday afternoon when MU hosted an educational event about the history of the world.

Families with young children headed to the high school for an educational event put on by Columbia Public Schools and faculty members from MU’s departments of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences and Anthropology.

What about the future?

After children learned about the history of the world on Saturday, the Missourian wanted to know what they thought our world would be like in the year 3000. Here's what some children said:

  • Candace Calvert, 6, said we would still be driving cars and living in houses made out of bricks. She didn't think we'd be living on the moon, but we might go to other planets.
  • Eric Dirksmeyer, 6, said, "I don't know!" He thought we'd be living on the moon, but he thinks he would rather stay and live on Earth.
  • Elsi Grabau, who is 7.5 years old, she said, wanted a flying car. She predicted there would be a button inside of the car and when pressed, the car would start to fly. There would probably be "different featured humans," she said, who would be taller with more pointy noses, flabby ears and stickier hair.

“We are in the middle of Missouri,” said Dr. Casey Holliday, a professor of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at MU, and one of the coordinators of the event. “We don’t have access to dinosaurs or cavemen for kids to see. The closest museums are in St. Louis and Chicago.”

Holliday said he was inspired to put on the event when he saw something similar.

“I brought my kid to one of these when geography was here,” Holliday said. “I thought, 'We could do this.'”

The event, which took about four weeks of planning and the help of 16 undergraduates, graduates and faculty, consisted of seven educational stations and showings of “Earth’s Wild Ride” inside the school’s Planetarium.

The components for many of the stations came straight from Holliday’s office, including some of the fossils and skulls on display.

One station, Little Lascaux Cave Painting, allowed the kids to show off their creativity.

“This is meant to replicate Lascaux Cave,” said Chet Savage, an MU graduate student in anthropology who volunteered at the event. “It is a deeper cave in France famous for its cave paintings.”

The children were able to draw their own cave paintings using crayons on the mock cave wall.

“I’m drawing a T. rex, an angry T. rex,” said 9-year-old Rye Shade. “I’m a good artist.”

At another station, Alexander Woods, an MU anthropology instructor, demonstrated how cavemen made weapons using rocks.

“The reason they used flint is because it breaks like glass, and becomes razor sharp,” Woods said to a group of children as he began to break up the rock using a reindeer antler. “If you lived in the Ice Age or 100,000 years ago, this would be your pocket knife. You would use it to hunt and make dinner. You would use it for everything.”

At the footprint station, guests were able to make their own dinosaur footprints by strapping wet footprint-shaped sponges to their feet and walking across paper. They were also able to get an idea of how huge dinosaurs were by looking at life-size footprints.

“I wouldn’t like if dinosaurs lived with us today,” 7-year-old Ava Metcalf said. “Because they would crush our house.”

“Earth’s Wild Ride,” a movie which predicts what life in the future on the moon might be like, was a favorite for some children.

“I liked the outer space part, and the zero gravity part,” 11-year-old Cayden Garfias said. “It creeped me out a little.”

Other children agreed.

“I liked when it made you feel like you were going down a volcano,” 8-year-old Brian Gerke said.

The event, which lasted from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. attracted a lot of people. At one point, more than 150 were at the venue.

“We are hoping to do a lot more of these in the future,” Holliday said.

Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.

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