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Back to School with Archeology

It’s back-to-school time! Are you a student who wants to learn more about archeology? Maybe you’re looking to extend your summertime experience on an archeological dig in the off season? Or you’re a teacher who wants to draw on archeology for your classroom? The National Park Service has lots of great resources for everyone headed back to class this fall.

If you’re a student, start with the Archeology For Kids site to learn more about what archeologists do and where they work. Head over to Webrangers to find out about using trees to date places or the ways that archeologists tell stories about the past.

Parks offer many educational programs to help teachers to connect students with archeology. Find Teacher Resources, as well as Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans for archeological places, and even distance learning courses in archeology and interpretation that can be adapted for classrooms. See curricula for Teaching with Museum Collections to learn from archeological excavations at Bandelier and Manzanar. Check out the Views of the National Parks pages, particularly the Teacher’s Lounge for a lesson plan on Petroglyph NM. Also read a case study, Archeology in the Classroom: A Case Study from Arizona.

Take advantage of place-based learning in the national parks! See which parks are near your school on the Find a Park page and contact them to learn about upcoming special programs or exhibits geared for students, such as Kids Digs at Fort Vancouver, or Children’s Archeology Day at Effigy Mounds. Visit the NPS Learn webpage to find out which parks offer curriculum-based programs, field trips, travelling trunks, and more.

Archeologists across the United States help teachers and students with learning about archeology. Project Archaeology, through the Bureau of Land Management, has lots of guidance and resources on using archeology to teach about the past. The Smithsonian Institution’s Decoding the Past, the Work of Archaeologists has three archeological lesson plans, as well.

Visit the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Exploring Historical Archaeology page, or the Society for American Archaeology’s For the Public page.

  • Kids learn archeology. [NPS photo]
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TSM/MJB