I found a great set of lessons for archaeology called It’s About Time and published in Ireland. The curriculum can be found on their website. I skipped to Theme 2: Lifestyle and the unit on housing for today’s class. I made a slideshow based on the information in the lesson plan and we talked about what makes a house – shelter, comfort, place to sleep, eat, etc. Why houses aren’t all the same; climate, available materials, tools, etc. And we talked about the archaeological evidence that has been found for houses that were just made of wood and pelts – stake holes and post holes. Even though the house rots away the wooden poles shoved into the ground, rot away leaving rich soil in a nice round hole. When you find a pattern of these stake holes you now have an outline of a house. Evidence of a hearth/fire pit can be found sometimes – the dirt is reddened from being heated over and over.
We also watched some clips from the PBS show, First Peoples episode 1 about how the first people came to America. We watched the bit on people coming across the land bridge and through the gap in the ice after the ice age, and a bit about an alternative theory that says people came along the coast much earlier when the other route was still blocked by ice. First Peoples is available on Amazon Prime or Itunes.
I also showed these two videos on building Mesolithic and Neotlithic houses.
The following video popped up on my facebook page this week and since we had just discussed hominids and our different ancestors last week I thought it fitting to show in class.
The kids did the activities from the archaeology lesson, which had them look at the archaeological evidence for a Mesolithic site and sketch what they thought the house might look like. They did this for a Neolithic site as well. The third worksheet showed the floorplan of a Mesolithic house and told them each person required 2m x 1m space, and the students had to figure out how many people could live in the house. Some kids cut the house into pizza slices giving each person a ‘slice’ and some just guestimated, but one kid made a template out of scotch tape that was to 2m x 1m to scale and used it to trace spaces for each person. Here’s some of the kids art work from today: