Archeology as the Ultimate STEM learning experience

What if we tapped into to students' love of archeology to bring STEM in our classrooms?

Photo of Jessica Lura
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As I sit in a National Geographic meet-up, listening to the explorers speak about their work, I was struck by how much STEM happens in archeology.  Technology to used in actual field work and imaging, biologist who work with sites to test isotopes, math for measurement and surveying skills, and other STEM-y skills. 

People are fascinated by archeology, and so it's a great way to expose students who don't think they are STEM people to what it can mean to be a scientist, an archeologist, a technology-focused person, a mathematician, a cartographer, art, how to observations & field study notebooks, etc. 

Students can team up with archeologists & learn about their field work-- local, state, and global work. If local, students can do a field trip to the location, learn about the tools, and perhaps do some limited field work. If there isn't a local dig going on, archeologists can share the tools they use and students can use it to map their local school community (wouldn't it be cool if we could use ground penetrating radar to see what's under our communities?) And a lot of archeologists have large teams of college students & graduate students that students can connect with-- that graduate student is like me--I could do this. 

I just listened to a presentation by a professor at California State University Los Angeles who is a bio archeologist who works with students who live in East LA. She works in Mongolia and her team involves Mongolian students, two students from East LA (and hadn't left previously), and biology professor. As she mentioned, it's not just social sciences that make up what happens on a dig but her research would enhanced by people with expertise in DNA and isotope research. So not only is she exposing her students, who are part of a population of people who aren't usually represented in STEM fields to STEM, but her research would appeal to students of all backgrounds. 

Dr. Christine Lee, CSULA


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Photo of John Faig

Our 5th grade does this and it great experiential learning is and a highlight for students.

Photo of Jessica Lura

Very cool John Faig ! Do they focus on local history or is it more global in nature?

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