Let's Piece the Past Together: Writing a Book about African Diaspora Archaeology Education for Middle School Students
Archaeology education and outreach for the general public is more widely recognized among professionals in the cultural resource management industry, academia, and among primary and secondary school educators. However, are archaeology education materials incorporating archaeological theory, national education standards, or learning theories?
Project Archaeology is a national program that promotes archaeology education in classrooms by developing and evaluating numerous classroom curriculum books, student activity guides, and workshops for primary and secondary school teachers. As a graduate student, I worked under the guidance of Project Archaeology to develop a new cultural heritage book designed for middle school students, entitled Lets Piece the Past Together: An Archaeological Journey of African-American History for Kids. This book uses archaeological data to discuss African-American history and slavery while incorporating archaeological theory, education standards, and learning theory. Students are guided to construct the past based on multiple primary and secondary resources, such as archaeological site descriptions and artifact photos, historical documents and photos, and excerpts from ex-slave narratives recorded during 1936-1938. The book features aspects of daily life as seen in the archaeological record and includes data about foodways, shelter, the continuity of African culture, and the presence of children. Transforming archaeological research into educational and appealing literature for the general public is fundamental to this project.
While the research and writing of the book is the focus of my graduate project, it is necessary to address the methodology and development of it because archaeology education needs a foundation in archaeological theory and interpretation, in addition to educational theory and standards. Addressing the theoretical viewpoints of both archaeology and education are important to satisfying the needs of the professional archaeologist and the classroom educator. This paper examines how to develop a book that engages the audience and brings African-American archaeology and history to middle school students. Research topics include critical theory and its perspective of interpreting archaeology for the public, the societal and professional motivations for archaeology education, inquiry learning theory, and the current national history and social studies education standards which guided the development of the book.
Advisor:Todd M. Ahlman; Kelly J. Dixon; Jean Luckowski
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:07/23/2007