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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Origin of Friction Fire

I was talking over the weekend about friction fire lighting and how it may have been discovered and expressed the opinion that it might have been the accidental result of using a hand drill for boring through a piece of wood which created the first ember from friction. I'm sure that I have read something along these lines before and so had a search online and found  of Primitive Ways.

It's interesting isn't it that you can use one relatively simple technique to achieve so many different outcomes. 
This principle can be useful for the teacher too; I have taught bow drill fire lighting for years now but have also always encouraged my students to 'think outside the box' in terms of what they can achieve with the basic tools they have. So in reverse of the way that friction fire might have been developed as explained in the article above the bow drill that students have learned to use to make fire suddenly becomes a drill for boring holes in a piece of antler to make a fishing hook. 

Other examples might be the flint tool which is used for cutting and providing a spark for firelighting, the elm bark that is used for making string and containers, the birch bark for tinder, containers, oil, medicine, tar and on and on. Instilling this idea that that almost everything can be put to more than just the obvious uses helps when teaching bushcraft but it can also be put to excellent use when teaching students about sustainability. 
For example; students may at first see a willow coppice as a bunch of trees, after a bit of practical work they may be able to list a few uses; willow hurdles, duck baskets, pea sticks but after a bit more thinking and teaching and they will realise that the possibilities are endless and that it can even be turned into pelletised fuel for heating houses and firing power stations. Thats what experiential learning is about, once enough experience has been facilitated then students will start to work out the answers for themselves, and if they have worked out the answers for themselves then they will remember it because it's 'their' answer, they will own that knowledge. 

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