History Kit: Archaeology Alive

Vermont's history from the ground up

Created as a joint project with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, this kit provides a unique approach to the study of archaeology. Students learn the principles of archaeology through artifacts, creative activities, games, and books that appeal to their imaginations and help them to delve into this fascinating field. Artifacts in the kit range from prehistoric stone stools to modern plastic implements. This project was generously funded by the Vermont Archaeological Society.

The kit includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide that includes teaching objectives, background information, and discussion questions leads instructors step by step through all of the activities and all of the artifact-based lesson plans. The kit is arranged so that a teacher may use the entire kit to teach an archaeology unit, or may pick only one or a few activities as time, inclination, and class age permit.

Some of the activities included are:

  • The Excavating Vermont game — A bag of “artifacts” for each student launches them into this board-game archaeological dig.
  • Cultural History Mystery — study several artifacts spanning four historical eras and create theories about the education, transportation, communication, and other cultural activities followed by the people who used the items.
  • What is a Tool?— A box of artifacts that includes both Native American and modern tools helps students discover the definition of a tool, as well as how tools were developed and have evolved over time.
  • Archaeology Bingo — bingo game cards, chips, and coordinate cards that help students recreate a dig site.
  • A Rich and Ancient Heritage video and plenty of books, pamphlets, and other reading materials help to round out the comprehensive archaeology unit that teachers can create using this kit.

This kit is aligned with Vermont’s Framework of Standards, and addresses the following three core standards:

  • Standard 2.2, Problem Solving Process: Studying the past requires research and reasoning. Students are presented with artifacts and must use reason and prior knowledge to learn about the function and cultural context of the artifacts.
  • Standard 6.4, Historical Connections: The lessons and activities in Archaeology Alive! address Vermont’s history from 12,000 years ago through today.
  • Standard 6.6, Being a Historian: This kit emphasizes the use of artifacts as historical evidence. Through these lessons, students examine artifacts for cultural clues and explore archaeological principles while “excavating” a fictional site in Vermont.

All kits are available for a three-week lending period for a fee of $60.00 (round-trip shipping), $45.00 (one-way shipping) or $30.00 (you pick up at VHS). For more information see History Kits.

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