Monday, July 16, 2012

For your third glimpse into summer camps, I visited Hope Haven Children's Clinic and Family Center, which offers academic support and learning services to students.  At this camp I get 45 minutes with four groups, ranging in age from first through fifth grades.  It poses an interesting challenge, because I need one educational, fun activity that I can adapt for all of those age groups--and ideally, relates to the theme for each summer's camp!  This year's themes was "Pirates," so I focused on underwater archaeology.

Shipwreck: Leap Through Time book cover. Photo courtesy of

The first part of each session used the book Shipwreck: Leap Through Time, which follows a ship from the 1630s as it's built, sailed, and sunk, finally focusing on its discovery centuries later and the archaeology that follows.  It's a great way to help kids explore site formation, what's actually left for maritime archaeologists to find, and how underwater archaeology works.  For more on the book itself, check out Sarah's book review.

At the book's end, we discuss the great illustration of archaeology taking place, discussing how underwater archaeologists record their finds, and that every archaeologist maps in artifacts before removing them. This brings us to the educational emphasis of the activity, mapping with Cartesian coordinates.  We tackled this from two angles:

Learning to play battleship...

Campers set up a game of Battleship to practice using Cartesian coordinates.

...and mapping a real anchor.

Campers mapped this anchor, on loan from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP).

Like anybody else, kids love an authentic story and activity, so they were thrilled to map this real, hundred-year-old anchor.  The anchor itself was never part of an archaeological site, but is real and has (as you can see by the black paint) been preserved.

Each camper got a grid sheet much like the one under the tarp:

Hope Haven campers draw maps of the anchor.

And got to work mapping!

One of the challenges to this activity, especially for the younger kids, was understanding to map what they see exactly as they see it on the grid.

With a little help and checking each other's work for accuracy, most of them came up with some pretty great results.  See for yourself:


If they finished early I encouraged them to add the texture that they saw on the surface of the anchor, as archaeologists often do when documenting artifacts.

My hopes are that any of these students, regardless of age, learned something about documenting sites; also that when, down the road, they encounter Cartesian coordinates, it's a little bit familiar to them.

 If you've been following my summer camps blogs, I hope it's obvious by now that we try not only to bring authentic archaeological information to kids, but also components that address core educational standards.  What other standards would you like to see FPAN address with archaeology activities?

To review my earlier summer camp posts, check out Round 1 and Round 2!

- Copyright © Going Public - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -