Investigating Migration: Project Archaeology Receives Grant to Develop Migration Curriculum

We are excited to announce that Project Archaeology received $230,000 in funding from the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and $50,000 from the BLM Washington Office to develop Project Archaeology: Investigating Migration. Future additional funding for this guide is expected through Section 106 mitigation from a wind farm project in Wyoming that will compensate for the adverse effects of renewable energy development on cultural resources. Investigating Migration is geared toward 7-8 grade students and will fit well with the C3 Framework (College, Career, and Civics) in geography and technology.

Migration Development Group March 2003. From left to right, Debra Ambush, Joelle Clark, Ruth Reeder and Eleanor King.

In 2002 and 2003 Project Archaeology’s national curriculum development team met four times to determine the future of Project Archaeology’s curriculum development. The group was interested in expanding on the success of Intrigue of the Past while creating a curriculum series that was based on inquiry and aligned to national standards. The group worked with Understanding by Design (UbD) and other concept-based theories to develop three main themes for future Project Archaeology curriculum. The three themes are: Shelter, Food, and Migration.

From those three themes four curriculum units were born including Project Archaeology: Investigation Shelter (published 2009), Project Archaeology; Investigating Nutrition (published 2015), Project Archaeology: Investigating Food and Land (in development) and Project Archaeology: Investigating Migration (in development).

Human migration is defined as “the movement of people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location.” Investigating Migration will focus on questions such as; why do people migrate? What impact does migration have on culture? How does archaeology help us understand migration and its effects? Students will use Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) technology to answer these questions.

What you can do with ArcMap and GIS!

GIS provides an effective way for students to think critically, use real data and connect them to their regional history and geography. The unit will resemble Investigating Shelter, with regional investigations for teachers to use. The first investigation will highlight The Overland Trail. We hope to have many Migration investigations including The Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Navajo Long Walk, The Great Migration of African Americans out of the South to the urban North from 1910 to 1970, the European migration into North American focusing on the Five Points neighborhood in New York City, and the many trails to the west traveled by Americans during the second half of the 19th century.

A family that migrated from the rural south to Chicago.

With the publication of Investigating Migration, Project Archaeology will complete a curriculum that brings archaeology to students from third to twelfth grades, providing multiple opportunities for students to learn and interact with archaeological and cultural concepts. As adults they will be equipped to appreciate and protect our nation’s rich cultural heritage.