Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chimpanzee Tool Use Activity

We thought it was really fascinating to learn about the smart things monkeys and apes come up with! One of our favorite days was when we talked about chimpanzees and how they use tools—something scientists used to think only humans could do. You can read more about that here, and about how they even use multiple tools together in a "tool kit" here!

The children also thought it was really, really funny to watch this chimp bat down a video drone with a stick.

I set up a few little activity stations so the children could try out some of the tools chimpanzees use most often. There was a termite-eating station, a washing and drinking station, and a bush-baby station.
At the termite-eating station, the children had to use a chopstick, a straw, or a skewer to get the bananas ("termites") at the bottom of the "termite mounds." I had the smaller glass there for the sake of Daisy, who I thought might not be able to reach into the taller one. And I used bananas for the termites because they are soft and I had them on hand. But really, if I were doing it again, I think it would have been a better analogy to smear peanut butter or something sticky on marshmallows (or bananas), so the "termites" would STICK to the sticks when the children reached them into the mound.
Occasionally a gorilla reared his head in the background of all this. We remained unfazed.
At the washing and drinking station, the children had to use leaves to pick up water and get a drink, and then as sponges to wash themselves.
And at the last station, the children had to use a long stick to try and knock a poor little bush baby out of a "tree."
The gorilla got him! But luckily, the gorilla assured us, he was just going to HUG the bush baby—not eat him!

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