Historical Thesis Grant

Awarded by the Blackwater Pyrates

CEMETERIES AS CLASSROOMS: MAKING ARCHAEOLOGY EDUCATION RELEVANT, ACCESSIBLE, AND SUSTAINABLE

Despite promoting K-12 education initiatives for decades, public archaeologists struggle to reach precollegiate audiences due to archaeology’s absence in curriculum standards, a lack of qualified archaeology educators, and barriers within the school system. To investigate replicable and accessible methods of archaeology education and to better understand teacher needs and motivations, I created lesson plans which engage high school students in recording and researching historic cemeteries. Hands-on efforts are often excavation-based and limited by access to professional archaeologists; however, cemetery recording is nondestructive and offers students a chance to participate in project-based learning. Four educators from Santa Rosa County taught the materials to nine classes in Fall 2019 while I evaluated the lessons through surveys, guided observations, and summative interviews. The materials were revised based on results to ensure they are useful and useable. Every participant indicated the lessons are user-friendly, relevant, and meaningful. Administrative support, passionate teachers, and carefully crafted lessons contributed to programmatic success, indicating collaborative efforts from archaeological and educational professionals can produce hands-on archaeology programming that is mutually rewarding. -

Rachel Hines
Winner, Thesis Grant

Graduate Assistant

Florida Public Archaeology Network
University of West Florida

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