Programs for Youth and School Groups
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.
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)
- Signs and Symbols – Understanding what signs and symbols are and how people have used them over time. Learning about rock art types and the importance of their preservation. Suggested activities: Wall of Us (K-6), Understanding Signs and Symbols (4-8)
- 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 about 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)
- Western NC Culture Through Folk Art – Looking at how people of Western North Carolina used art and how it changed over time and how that relates to culture. May include Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, NC Ugly/Face jugs, quilt traditions. Suggested activities: Design a Vessel (K-3), Pinch Pots (K-12), Quilter’s Tangram (2-6)
- Archaeology and the Ancient World – Learn about other Old World archaeology sites (including Roman Londinium, Çatalhöyük) and how large New World (SE U.S., specifically) sites (like Cohokia, Joara) size up! Suggested activities: Pinch Pots (K-12), Twisted Experiments (4-12)
- Our Not So Distant Past (Select Revolutionary War, Civil War, 100 years ago, Modern Archaeology) – learning that archaeology is not just for the distant past! Applying archaeological techniques to resources from the Revolution/Civil War/turn of the century through to punk rock graffiti and how modern homeless populations use the landscape. Suggested activities: Living Room Site (5-12), Every Picture Tells a Story (4-12), Census Activity (7-12)
- Experimental Archaeology – learning about how archaeologists learn about the past through doing! Suggested activities: Twisted Experiments (4-12), Pinch Pots (K-12), No Time to Knap! (9-12)
- Archaeology of Cemeteries – Understanding how cemeteries are like outdoor museums. Learn how other different cultures in the SE U.S. created and used cemeteries over time. Learn how archaeologists study cemeteries to learn about past and present populations. Suggested activities: Decoding Cemeteries (4-12), *Outside Field Trip* Visit a local cemetery (4-12)
- Paleoethnobotany – Learn about different types of archaeology. Learn what paleoethnobotonists study (how people in the past used plants) and how these changed over time. Focus topics: medicine, agriculture, construction materials, etc. and prehistoric, colonial, pioneer, or turn of the century, etc. Suggested activities: Popcorn Paleoethnobotany (3-5), Medicinal Plants (3-5), Twisted Experiments (4-12).
- Spanish Artifacts through Spanish Art – Using slides of 15th- 17th Spanish paintings to understand the artifacts archaeologists uncover and Spanish lifeways.
- NC Myths, Legends, and Culture – Looking at Native American legends and how they can be seen in the archaeological record
- Pseudoarchaeology and Movie “Science” – Critical thinking about things like Ancient Aliens, Indiana Jones, and Lara Croft. Suggested activity: Archaeology Goes to the Movies (5-12)
- 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)
- Early Colonial Medicine – (7-12) Looking at the evidence for medicine early explorers and colonists of the new world used. Use examples from archaeological sites and shipwrecks. Learn about local medicinal plants adapted by new resident of the New World.
- Archaeology Goes to the Movies – (5-12) Reenacting scenes from Indiana Joes and the real archaeological equivalent
- Build a Boat – (4-6) Using odds and ends (egg carton cups, pencils, rubber bands, string) students must build a boat. Must incorporate ideas about propulsion, buoyancy, and vessel use. Boats and carrying capacity tested in tub of water.
- Catawba House Site – (5-12) Using an outline of a Berry Site or Catawba Meadows structure drawn on a drop cloth + images of artifacts- try to interpret site use.
Categorizing- (Pre-K to K) Sorting different buttons (wood, plastic, shiny, colored, shapes) into categories and explaining why.
- Census Activity – (7-12) Using local census records to answer worksheet questions about the lives of the people in the neighborhood covered.
- Cookie Excavation – (K-6) Using M&M cookies and toothpicks to excavate. Can scale up to include mapping of “artifacts” and site interpretation by assigning artifact types to different colored M&Ms (green = tools, red = clothing items, etc.)
- Culture Everywhere – (4-12) In order to understand the story before them (artifacts and field information), archaeologists must try to understand the how people in different cultures operated. Students will use worksheet to think about what are “basic human needs” and what sorts of people in the past (and us!) may have used to fulfill these needs… and if they’re really needs at all!
- Decoding Cemeteries – (4-12) Looking at grave stone symbols and interpreting the stories being told on photos of real stones.
- Design a Vessel – (K-3) create own pattern based on personal interest to draw on a jug drawing worksheet
- Every Picture Tells a Story – (4-12) Looking at historic and modern photos for details
- 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
- Living Room Site – (5-12) Using the outline of a living room drawn on a drop cloth salted with modern and familiar “artifacts” try to interpret the story of the people who used the living room.
- Map an Artifact – (4-12) Students use graph paper, pencils, and rulers to accurately map artifacts in a recreated excavation unit.
- Map a Wreck – (7-12) Use archaeological mapping and measuring techniques to map a wreck replica on graph paper.
- Medicinal plants – (3-5) Hands-on identification of locally used medicinal plants and matching them with their uses.
- Mini-sites – (4-8) Learning about site formation and stratigraphy by layering “deposits” and “artifacts” in a small take-home cup- sand sculpture-style!
- Musnsell Colors – (4-6) Using Munsell soil color chart, make accurate scientific records about color, texture, make up
- No Time to Knap! – (9-12) Flint knapping 101
- *OUTSIDE FIELD TRIP* Visit a local historical cemetery – Complete scavenger hunt for important cultural info, learn a little about headstone cleaning and proper respect for historical resources
- Pinch Pots – (K-12) Using clay and prehistoric ceramic tradition to create pinch pot- add own design, etc.
- Popcorn Paleoethnobotany – (3-5) Not all corn pops! Sorting corn kernels by use and using critical thinking skills to reenact the Legend of the Three Sisters.
- Quilter’s Tangram – (2-6) Using geometric shapes to recreate quilt patterns of various complexity and create own design to take home
- Shipwreck on a Tarp – (7-12) Using an outline of a real shipwreck and images of artifacts found, students must try to understand how the people on the ship lived and what the ship was for.
- Smash Pot Cross Mending – (4-8) Decorate small terra cotta flower pot 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.
- Twisted Experiments – (4-12) Using natural material to create cordage- one of the most vital components for early human life.
- Understanding Signs and Symbols – (4-8) Break students into teams. Have each student or team create a scene or tell a story using only symbols. Trade pictures and have another student or team interpret the symbols. No words allowed!
- Understanding Super Superposition – (2-5) Using stratigraphy board, correctly determine where images of artifacts belong (older at the bottom and newer at the top). Try to make inferences about what might have occurred when things don’t line up where they should (ie. Wooly mammoth tusk found over a 1950s lawn chair)!
- 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.
o 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
o Visit gardens to learn about edibles and herbs, study plants like a paleoethnobotanist, create a pinch pot, try chunky or atlatl.
o 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!
- Archaeology Day at History Museum of Burke Co.
Become a Member
- - Free or reduced access to special events
- - Member Days and special tour days at the Berry Site
- - Hands-on archaeology labs at the Wall Center
- - Community Days at the Catawba Meadows Living History Center
- - Academic presentations by experts in the field