Arizona teachers observe modern artifacts in context and make inferences about the people who used them.

By Paulette LeBlanc

Paulette LeBlanc, Project Archaeology professional development instructor, introduced 14 Arizona teachers to archaeology education.  Short workshops at conferences effectively introduce teachers to archaeology in the classroom.

Each June, the Graham and Greenlee County School Superintendents host a 4-day teachers’ academy.  The event draws K-12 teachers from Southeast Arizona and includes up to 100 breakout sessions, mainly focusing on math, science and technology.  In our 2011 academy, we decided to draw attention to Project Archaeology by offering a 3-hour session, covering skills and activities of the first five lessons.  Of course the underlying goal was to wet their whistles and attract them to the remainder of the program.

Fourteen teachers ranging from kindergarten through high school attended the session hosted by Dan McGrew, BLM archaeologist, and Paulette LeBlanc, county staff development coordinator.  Evaluations document that it was very well received.  It was wonderful to read, “This was awesome!  I learned what a dig is and how it relates to different cultures.”  When asked about the most valuable lesson learned, one teacher wrote, “The sorting and classifying and making graphs to record information.  There is so much for students to learn from past cultures.” Best of all, comments such as, “I want to continue with the program. Wow!  I want to do this.  Can’t wait for the rest” are encouraging us to follow up with a weekend training in February, melding these summer attendees with newbies.

More to come from Southeast Arizona!