A Texas History Bow Hunt

Now that school is in session around here let’s talk about ridiculous homework.

Last year my son studied Texas History in 7th grade. It’s not really a topic that thrills him which is surprising because he is such a history buff. Give him US History or World History and he is set. But Texas History for a whole year can be a bit much.

At  some point when studying Texas History one must cover the Indians. When my son got to this part in the curriculum his teacher gave the class the assignment, “How to Make a Bow and Arrow.”

Sounds kind of cool.

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But some of the specifics of this assignment are kind of crazy. Below it says, “Choose a piece of wood for the bow. Find a piece of dry, dead hardwood – oak, hickory, yew, black locust, or teak.”

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Now teak wood is found in Indonesia and Myanmar while there are several types of yew wood some of which are found in Europe, Pacific, Canada, China, Japan, Florida, and the Himalayas.

What the assignment should have said was find a piece of wood at your neighborhood park.

We did just that.

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The directions above say that the wood should be free of knots, twists, or limbs.

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The next step in bow making comes in selecting a bow string.

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Yep, you read that right. Just go back outside and grab some strands of silk from your caterpillars.

We used string. Good ol’2015 string on our bow and arrow.

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Next you need to make your arrows. “You can straighten the arrow by gently heating the shaft over hot coals – be careful not to scorch or burn the wood.”

I feel like there’s a lawsuit just waiting to happen with this assignment.

We skipped the hot coals part.

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The results…

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The arrow ended up flying about 5 feet.

At  school the teacher had set up a large paper buffalo on a string. The idea was that the buffalo was pulled back and forth so the kids could try and hit it.

My son did not hit the buffalo with his wooden bow and arrows.

Guess which kids hit the buffalo.

The ones who used PVC pipe for the bow and proper arrows.

Man oh man was my son angry when he found out they got the same 100 that he did for the assignment.

I did have to point out to him that he too kind of broke the rules when building his bow and arrows – no wood from the Himalayas, no hot coals were used, and certainly no caterpillar silk.

Can’t wait for homework in US History this year.

Maybe he’ll get to practice medicine on his brother using only tools that were available during the Civil War or perhaps he’ll get to brew his own beer while studying Prohibition.

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4 Responses to A Texas History Bow Hunt

  1. Oh man, this assignment still makes me made every time I think about it.

  2. Patricia Becker says:

    I have to say that I had tears pouring down my face as I went through the directions with my husband, an undergraduate history major. This is what all this misguided “project-based learning” without an ounce of practical intelligence will get you. Obviously, this lesson was just downloaded from the Internet and remember, everything on the Internet is not true.

  3. Kelly says:

    Guess the teacher didn’t even read the assignment…