Tongva Trail (by Mrs. Hood)

Natural resources are an important part of daily life. Orange County Native Americans depended on the resources around them for their survival. Natural resources are still important to us today. 

After studying and learning in class, social studies came to life for Grade 3 students. On December 13, third graders traveled to the Environmental Nature Center in Newport, CA. At the center they participated in the Tongva (Gabrielino)Trail Walk Program.

Our students traveled back in time to learn about the tools, trade, and customs of the Tongva (Gabrielino) and Acjachemen (Juaneño) people of Orange County. Along the trail our students saw, touched, and smelled the plants used centuries ago by Native Americans. They made string out of plants, used “rabbit sticks” to “hunt”, performed music using authentic Tongva instruments, made “money” using pump drills, and played authentic Native American games. (ENC 3rd Grade Tongva Trail Study Guide) Students truly used all of their senses to engage in experiential learning.

Even better was the fact that all this learning took place outside in nature instead of in a classroom with textbooks. Docents allowed the students to be responsible for teaching fellow classmates about tools, plants, and other resources along the trail. They also learned that oftentimes “games” had dual purposes - fun and learning skills needed for hunting. What a fun learning day!