Summer SAVY 2017, Session 2/Day 1- Digging for the Past (Rising 4th/5th)
Today was an awesome first day of class! I was really impressed by the insightful questions asked by all the students. Our main topics of focus today were human adaptation and the importance of archaeological context in understanding those adaptations. We started out by creating a short concept map to highlight what the students already know about archaeology. Next, we talked about what it is that archaeologists actually do. A few students were surprised to find out that archaeologists do not study dinosaurs or fossils! Each student was given a Field Notebook to write down all of their research questions, hypotheses, and conclusions throughout the week (just like real archaeologists). We discussed the scientific method and the ways in which archaeologists use it to study the way ancient humans lived. We also discussed how long humans have lived in Tennessee and went over a timeline of known archaeological sites in our state. We discussed the concept of “culture” and the pros and cons of using this concept. One of our big questions today was “How do human adaptations shape “culture”, and how are these adaptations reflected in the material culture of archaeological groups?” We also discussed the concepts of “observation” and “inference” and how important these are to archaeologists. We ended the day with a Mystery Artifact Activity! Using the scientific method, each student made observations and developed hypotheses about their given artifact. They worked both independently and by consulting their fellow archaeologists! Overall, this was a really fun and successful day.