On the morning of Nov. 13, several teachers from Loma Linda Academy, El Cajon Seventh-day Adventist Christian School and La Sierra Academy sat at tables in Room 231 of Palmer Hall. The high-tech classroom allows images from instructors’ computers to be displayed on a bank of flat panel screens at the front of the room and on side walls. Archaeologists Dr. Ellen Bedell, history department chair of The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, and Stefanie Elkins, assistant art professor at Andrews University in Michigan led the group in the use of various web sites and creative activities for engaging elementary and middle school students in facets of archaeology such as categorizing and cataloguing artifacts.
David Roysdon, who teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes at El Cajon Christian school attended the workshop to enhance his knowledge of archaeology and ways to teach the subject, he said. Last year he dug a simulated excavation pit for his students to work in and find seafood shells, bones, a simulated stone oven and other objects. “They had to determine how these shells got to the dig site,” he said. “I’m doing it again with the students this year.” He plans to pass along to his students lessons in the importance of practicing ethics in archaeology and asking key questions. “What are future archaeologists going to be talking about with our culture, and what is the past going to look like?” he said.
On Sunday Nov. 13, about 20 children ranging from preschoolers to middle school-aged kids gathered at tables under trees in a field near the Sierra Towers dorm to participate in a lesson on identifying old objects excavated in California. Craig Lesh of Archaeology Adventures gave a short lecture on how to name the objects and determine how they were used. He pointed to variously shaped and rusty cans, containers and lids on a table and asked his young pupils to identify the objects and connect them with photographs of similar, newer objects in a binder. In the end, the old cans proved to be containers for evaporated milk, maple syrup, peaches and other elements of an old-fashioned breakfast most likely consumed by workers during the 1800s.
Next, Lesh led the students to a square excavation pit dug into the soil and divided by string into smaller squares. He instructed the students on how to excavate objects buried there earlier in the day and assigned groups of kids to dig in various squares.
“It’s nice to have a feeling of archaeologists and learn about stuff that archaeologists do,” said 10-year-old Joel Lev-Tov, a Redlands resident. The excavation at La Sierra was his second. The son of an archaeologist with the Redlands firm Statistical Research Inc., the young Lev-Tov traveled with his father, Justin Lev-Tov in 2007 to participate in an Israeli excavation.
The elder Lev-Tov described Archaeology Discovery Weekend and its excavation as “a great educational opportunity for kids. It’s well organized,” he said. Lev-Tov learned of the weekend’s activities through an advertisement at an archaeology event in another city.
Seven-year-old Lia Kritzinger was among the group of children busily digging through squares of soil. She liked “finding the pieces,” Kritzinger said as she pushed a trowel through the dirt. When asked whether she might want to become an archaeologist one day Kritzinger responded, “I was thinking about being a dancer.”
Nelson Phillips and his friend Jonathan Meyer worked together on one square. “We’re finding a really cool pot,” Phillips said. When asked what he learned from the archaeology experience he responded, “you have to be patient.”
“It’s really fun and it’s great,” added Meyer.
View more pictures from the weekend here.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University