EJF staff offer a variety of lessons, activities, and field trips for school and youth groups. Archaeology offers students of all ages a different, broader lens through which to understand their lessons and the world around them. It helps us gain an insight and appreciation for our shared heritage as a community, state, and species. EJF programs embrace the multi-disciplinary nature of archaeology. Lessons and field trips tackle STEM and multicultural topics, encourage critical thinking, and approach abstract topics through multiple learning strategies.

We work with a variety of community partners and volunteers that share our goals. Bringing in outside experts and volunteers (many of which are retired educators themselves), enhances our programming, making it a singular experience for participants.

All EJF programs align to NC Common Core and Essential Standards. Staff will furnish list of Science, Social Studies, and Art standards (where applicable) upon request.

(For adult programs, please visit our Workshops for Community Groups page.)

Please select a workshop topic and complete the online request form below or fill out this printer-friendly PDF form and send it to ed@exploringjoara.org.

In-Classroom Field Trips

Each in-class field trip matches a lesson and one (or more) hands-on activity. Lesson includes a Power Point presentation with images of sites, cultures, and artifacts and can be offered alone or with suggested activities. Activities complement lessons and may be selected to focus on subject (math, science, art, etc.) and grade level.

Pricing: One lesson and one activity: Approximately $125 per classroom (45 to 60 minutes) + Federal rate for travel. Additional activity: Additional $2 per student. Please see pricing sheet for full details.


  • Berry Site and Juan Pardo – Intro to the story of Juan Pardo and his men and how archaeologists uncovered the evidence to tell the tale. Suggested Activities: Catawba House Site (5-12)
  • Prehistoric Food Tech – Learning about different ways W NC Native Americans hunted, gathered, raised food over time. Thinking about important innovations like: atlatl, ceramics, advent of agriculture (The Three Sisters). Suggested activities: Pinch pots (K-12), Popcorn Paleoethnobotany (3-5)
  • Intro to Archaeology – Run down of key terms and ideas (archaeology, archaeological record, preservation, artifact, stratigraphy, feature, etc.). Suggested activities: Categorizing (Pre-K-K), Cookie Excavation (K-6), Map an Artifact (4-12), Catawba House Site (5-12), Living Room Site (5-12), Laying a Grid (8-12), Time Capsule (K-12)
  • Lab Tech – For every 1 hour of lab field work, archaeologists spend at least 3 hours in the lab cleaning, analyzing, interpreting, and writing. Students will learn about “the rest of the story.” Suggested activities: Culture Everywhere (4-12), Smash Pot Cross Mending (4-8), Intro to Lab Work (7-12)
  • Prehistoric Potters – learn about the history of pottery in the SE U.S. and how archaeologists study it (including temper, shape, and design). Suggested activities: Pinch Pots (K-12), Smash Pot Cross Mending (4-8)
  • Underwater Archaeology – Students will learn that there are different types of archaeology, including underwater archaeology. Learn about the tools and techniques these specialists employ. See examples of how archaeologists study an underwater site. Gain an appreciation that there’s a BIG difference between archaeology and treasure hunting. Suggested activities: Build a Boat (4-6), Shipwreck on a Tarp (7-12), Map a Wreck (7-12).
  • Excavating Documents – Learning that there are different types of Archaeology- including Historical Archaeology. Seeing how information can be excavated from photos, documents, government records, etc. that augment the evidence found in the ground to tell a more complete story. Learning how history and archaeology complement each other. Suggested activities: Every Picture Tells a Story (4-12), Census Activity (7-12)
  • Timelines and Time Periods (all together or Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian, Historical) – Learning how scientists determine time periods. Learning how archaeological time periods are different than geological time periods and what time periods are used by U.S. archaeologists.
  • Dirt Science – Learning about how geology is used in archaeology- including Stratigraphy, law of Superposition, Munsell Soil Color Charts. Suggested activities: Munsell Colors (4-6), Understanding Super Superposition (2-5)


  • Categorizing — (Pre-K to K) Sorting different buttons (wood, plastic, shiny, colored, shapes) into categories and explaining why.
  • Design a Vessel – (K-3) create own pattern based on personal interest to draw on a jug drawing worksheet
  • Intro to Lab Work – (7-12) *Availability dependent on Warren Wilson College Archaeology Dept*- Students will try their hand a cleaning or sorting real artifacts.
  • Laying a Grid – (8-12) Using a compass and the Pythagorean Theorem, students lay out a proper archaeological unit
  • Mini-sites – (4-8) Learning about site formation and stratigraphy by layering “deposits” and “artifacts” in a small take-home cup- sand sculpture-style!
  • Munsell Colors – (4-6) Using Munsell soil color chart, make accurate scientific records about color, texture, make up.
  • Pinch Pots – (K-12) Using clay and prehistoric ceramic tradition to create pinch pot- add own design, etc.
  • Smash Pot Cross Mending – (4-8) Decorate small terra cotta flowerpot with personal symbols or copying Native American designs, place pot in plastic bag and allow students to drop/break/smash. Then allow students to try to reassemble their (or their neighbor’s) broken pot using archaeological lab techniques. (Added difficulty- remove several pieces)
  • Time Capsule – (K-12) Completing worksheets or bringing images for collages to be stored/contained for the duration of the school year. “Reopening” at the end of the school year.
  • Wall of Us – (K-6) Using large butcher paper as a “cave wall,” students design their own personal symbol then add it to create a class mosaic.

Catawba Meadows Field Trips

Visits to our Catawba Meadows Living History Village will consist of rotating stations with activities related to the selected theme. Many of the lessons from the in-class section can be applied to, or combined with, a Catawba Meadows visit. If you plan to bring a large group (larger than 20), we suggest assigning teams before arrival so that we don’t miss one minute of fun!

Pricing: Visit of 1-2 hr(s) – $7 per student. Half-day visit: Approximately $10 per student (1 to 4 hours, 3 to 4 activity stations). Full-day visit: Approximately $20 per student (4 to 8 hours, 4 to 6 activity stations). Multi-site field trip: Catawba Meadows and Berry Site field trip: Approximately $23 per student. Groups less than 20 will be charged for 20.) Please see pricing sheet for full details.


Archaeology Olympics

  • Learn tricks of the trade, acquire appreciation for scientific measurements used by archaeologists, and experiment with field methods. Look into an archaeologist’s tool kit.
  • Set up a 1 x 1 meter unit, line a level for profile mapping, take a Munsell soil color reading, pace off five meters, fill out an artifact bag, toss dirt.

Prehistoric Food Tech

  • Learn about how people in the past got their food without grocery stores.
  • Visit gardens to learn about edibles and herbs, study plants like a paleoethnobotanist, create a pinch pot, try chunky or atlatl.
  • Pop over to the Garden: Arch of Popcorn and the Three Sisters- hear (and use critical thinking skills to reenact) the legend of the Three Sister, see the Native Garden growing (seasonally dependent), try your hand at a paleoethnobotanical study, create a corn husk friend, and decorate a brown paper lunch bag like a ceramic vessel to contain a popcorn snack.

Annual Special Gardens Program– Each year, EJF’s Catawba Meadows gardens will highlight a special NC agriculture theme for a half day-long field trip experience. Contact us to learn this growing season’s theme and planned activities!

Not seeing what you like?  Hoping to add a Berry Site visit to your EJF outdoor field trip?  Contact us for options!


    Program Request Form for School or Community Groups

    Please give 3 possible program dates, in order of preference:
    (click on down arrow at right to bring up a calendar)