Lessons from the Dirt: Teaching Archaeology to Kids

#edtech #elemchat #edchat Dirt + Kids = Great Learning

Who can argue with that formula?

Back in January when I was in a meeting with my principal to discuss ideas on how we can bring more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities for our students, I brought up the idea of an Archaeology Club. We discussed the fact that these would be young students, some as young as 8 years old, and we wanted to be sure they got a lot out of the club. After we put together a brief outline and set some limitations, I set off to design the club.

I started with the academics, I wanted it to be authentic with real archaeology skills and terminology. So I ordered a few books and got to work designing the back story. What's the back story you ask? I got the idea for back stories for my projects from watching a TV show all about Disneyland and how every ride has a "story" to it. As humans we relate to stories, and stories are where the learning retention sticks. So I designed a great back story about how my young students were helping an archaeologist who was away at another dig, but he would send them updates on what to do.

I then buried the artifacts in a vacant lot next to our school a few weeks before the club started and bought some basic tools for my students to use.

This past June we did our first Archaeology Club and it was a great success, here is a link to the amazing photos from the club:

Flickr Photo Set

Here are some highlights from the club;

- students learned the how and why behind archaeology

- students received a message and had to use a GPS to find the dig site

- students staked out the dig site

- students used the proper methods of excavation

- students photographed and logged any artifacts they found

- students researched their found artifacts

- students Skyped with an archaeologist to verifiy their finding

We had a great time playing Indiana Jones for a week and I am looking forward to making some improvements and doing it all again next summer.

- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School

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