Elementary school students are digging up a history lesson with school archaeology, simulating a real archaeological dig so that students can learn about primary sources and artifacts.

At Parker-Bennett-Curry Elementary School, fifth graders enthusiastically went through the dirt in the annual dig organized by fifth grade social studies teacher Angela McIntyre and Western Kentucky University history professor Andrew McMichael.

“He had an idea of putting it in the ground and having the kids really dig and hypothesize,” said McIntyre.

McIntyre’s students are learning about the history of colonial America. The dig is an exercise which teaches students about discovering what surviving artifacts show about the time period and culture, and also about primary sources. Before the dig, students are required to form hypotheses about the artifacts they expect to find.

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After the dig, she has them draw conclusions about life in colonial times based on their findings.

Each year, the “colonial artifacts” are buried around the end of summer by McIntyre and McMichael.  These include seashells, antlers, and old pottery and metal cups donated by the WKU Department of Art.

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