I didn’t – until about 10 minutes ago. There are fifty 4th, 5th and 6th grade students studying the Silk Road right now, and the teachers have divided the subject in every possible way. In fact, there’s a group in the library right now studying animals of the Silk Road, and so I was asked to find books about camels, musk ox, ibex and jerboas. I was fine until they got to that last one, so I turned, of course, to Wikipedia which told me that a jerboa is “a desert rodent found throughout Asia and Northern Africa.” While the kids were reading about camels, I gathered a few more encyclopedic sources to help fill out the story of this obscure (at least to me) animal.
Just out of curiosity, I also went to Amazon to see how many books exist about the little rodents – wouldn’t you know it…there’s a jerboa on the cover of Steve Jenkin’s and Robin Page’s new book, Time for a Bath. I would have looked at the book and thought it was a hamster who was part of a cute, but unsuccessful, cross breeding experiment. Now, thanks to the teachers, I have a new animal in my knowledge base and a good conversation starter for dinner with my family tonight.
Here are some of the other resources the kids are using for their Silk Road projects:
Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road by Priscilla Galloway with Dawn Hunter
The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History by John S. Major
Caravan to America: Living Arts of the Silk Road by John S. Major
Marco Polo’s Travels on Asia’s Silk Road by Cath Senker
We’re Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road by Laurie Krebs