As introduced yesterday by Autumn, the Archaeology 101 project will generate an interactive website with the main goal of introducing elementary and middle school students, as well as other interested individuals, to archaeology.

The website will include basic introductory information that will teach visitors how to think like an archaeologist. It will then reinforce these concepts through several interactive activities or sections that will be built using JavaScript. Several JavaScript libraries have been identified as potential tools for building these interactive elements, including draggable.JS, create.JS, and easel.JS. No museum or project specific data will be used; instead concepts will be taught using fictive or modern examples (such as a simple stratigraphy game or exploring what can be learned from trash) that young students will be able to comprehend more easily. References to real archaeological sites may be used as examples in content, but this info will come from public sources, and we will be sure to credit appropriately.    

As our audience is elementary and middle school students, the landing page will be written and formatted to present content directly to them (not their teachers). There will be a sub-page available through the main menu bar that will be tailored for teachers, including instructions on how to integrate this website into lesson plans and how it fits within National Education Standards. 

Content Specifics

The landing page will include a “What is Archaeology” section that will introduce the discipline of archaeology and lay the groundwork for later content. It will also contain a quick introduction to the website (how to use), so that students will be able to easily use this teaching tool. At the top of the landing page will be links to four subpages: Time, Place, Artifacts, and Resources

The Time page will introduce how archaeologists tell time and include a simple stratigraphy drag and drop game for placing artifacts by age in soil layers. The stratigraphy game will be built using the draggableJS library. 

The Place page will discuss different types of archaeological sites and where they are found. This page will include a map with public archaeological sites in Illinois with pop-ups that include a short descriptions and a photo of the site. An emphasis will be placed on archaeological sites near Springfield, IL to showcase that the students are surrounded by archaeology. Ten historic and ten prehistoric sites will be highlighted (and the map will include an option to filter by site type). 

The Artifact Page will discuss what archaeologists find (not Dinos!). It will include two interactive games, a matching game, where users will match the definition of objects to an image and a game that allows the students to ‘unmask’ or ‘erase’ objects to see how perishable items would preserve after 1,000 years. The matching game will be built using the draggableJS library. The ‘unmasking’ game will be created by using EaselJS within the CreateJS library. 

Lastly, the Resources page will be tailored to the teachers; it will include instructions on how teachers can utilize the website within their curriculum as well as links to useful blog posts and other resources for teaching elementary to middle school students about archaeology. 

Stay tuned for future blog posts to learn about each aspect of the project!