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Nez Perce Bag You can tell a lot about a culture from its tools. The Tools video will show students how to make some of the tools used by Native Americans. The video will show how tools changed the people's lives. It will also discuss how some plants were used in their daily lives.


After viewing Tools, students will be able to:

  1. Explain a tool is a device people use to extend their ability to accomplish a task.
  2. Describe how tools have advanced and changed their lifestyles.
  3. Discuss how tools were made from the available material around them.
  4. Explain how plants were used in daily life.

Clovis point Tools begins with the host, Phyllis Edmundson, at Owl Cave, an archaeological site in eastern Idaho. She describes some of the tools used by ancient Idahoans and how improvements in tools lead to improvements in their lifestyle.

The video follows Gene Titmus as he makes a Clovis point, one of the first important tools of the ancient Idahoans. The arrow evolved from the Clovis point, an important advancement. Jim Woods of the Herrett Museum next demonstrates how an arrow is made.

Native Americans used tools to make some of the basic necessities of life. Dave Bethke shows how hides are tanned into leather. The video finishes with Judy Trejo showing how Native Americans used sagebrush and horsetails for food, shelter and toys.

Phyllis closes the video by challenging students to imagine what archaeologists hundreds of years from now will say about our culture by looking at our tools.


(Before Viewing)

  1. Show students a series of unrelated objects, both old and new. Have them imagine they've never seen these objects before. Have them try to describe what they might be used for, based on the physical features of each object.
  2. Have the students define "tool." Discuss the tools they use in their daily lives and the tools others use.
  3. Discuss the ethics of finding an ancient artifact and what students should do if they discover one.

(During Viewing)


  1. Imagine what it would have been like to live in Idaho thousands of years ago.
  2. What would you eat?
  3. How would you get it?
  4. What would you wear?
  5. Can you imagine how difficult it was to hunt with just a spear?
  6. How close to the animal would you have to get?
  7. And how hard would you have to throw?
  8. What can you learn about Idahoans today by looking at their tools?

Ambush- A surprise attack
Archer- Someone who shoots a bow and arrow
Aromatic- Giving off a distinct odor or smell
Clovis Point- First type of stone weapon used in Idaho, attached to the end of a long spear
Epidermis- The top layer of skin
Foreshaft- The front part of the shaft that attaches to the stone point
Percussion- Beating or striking
Shaft- The body of an arrow
Sinew- The stringy tissue that connects muscle to bone, a tendon
Spearthrower- Atlatl (the Indian word)-A stick with a hook that is used to hurl a spear
Tanning- The process of transforming an animal hide into leather


(After Viewing)

  1. What can you learn about a people by studying their tools?
  2. How did the early Idahoans use the things around them to make tools?
  3. How did improvements in tools change daily life?
  4. How were plants used by early Idahoans?
  1. Have students prepare a menu for a meal without the benefit of modem day tools and food sources.
  2. Have students create a "tool," either one shown in the video or from a new idea.
  3. Make clothing or shelter using natural material, as the ancient Idahoans did.
  4. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of the evolution of tools.

Mystery Tool

Bring in a "tool" from an earlier age. The tool could be a real artifact or a picture and could include such things as kitchen utensils, woodworking tools or antiques. Have students study it, make a hypothesis about how it was used, why it was developed and what it tells about its owners.