This blog includes updates from the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project sponsored by Western Michigan University in partnership with the City of Niles, the Fort St. Joseph Museum, Support the Fort, Inc. and other community groups. The Project is dedicated to archaeological research, education, community service learning, and intensive public outreach. The Principal investigator of the Project is Dr. Michael Nassaney.
This past Saturday, Genna, Tommy and I
participated in the 2017 WMU MLK Career Cruising event hosted in the student
recreation center to represent the anthropology department with Dr. Michelle
Machicek and Anna Alioto. Sixth through eighth grade students from local
schools were invited by their administrators and WMU to learn about future
career options. Around 10 departments hosted 15-minute interactive activities,
in areas such as mathematics, speech, language and hearing sciences, physics,
and music therapy. It was a significant opportunity to educate young students
on subjects they may not know much about and to reinforce the idea that they
have endless options when it comes to choosing a future career path.
Anne and Tommy helping students draw conclusions
This was my second year attending the
event and I loved the experience as much as I did the first time. My favorite
part about teaching kids about archaeology is the fact that in return I am
learning just as much from them that they are from me. We allowed them to touch
and look at four different sets of modern broken ceramics and then asked
various questions about their designs, functions (before breaking), and about
what the family that once owned them might have been like. They were making up
stories about why the plate ended up in pieces, and drawing conclusions
together while pretending that they had recovered a few of the pieces at an
archaeological site. A major component of archaeology is drawing conclusions
from little evidence while thinking outside of the box and that is what we were
prompting them to do. We received a range on responses from “the cup fell of
the table”, “the owners were mad and smashed it”, to even “they must have been
at a Greek celebration and smashed the plate, yelling ‘Opa!’”. Children love
the idea of limitless possibilities.
Piecing together the puzzles of the past!
The students that attended the event were
engaging and shared with us their process of analysis and investigation. Career
Cruising is a fantastic way to enrich young minds with knowledge they might not
receive on a typical school day. I appreciated the opportunity to work with
these young minds and will continue to teach kids whenever I have the