By Katherine Hodge, Public Education Coordinator

Rock art may not sound like something that fits into a classroom lesson plan, but we are here to show you just how well an authentic curriculum like Project Archaeology Investigating Rock Art can provide not only a unique learning experience for your students, but one that meets important

Illustration by Duncan Bullock of early peoples carving rock art.

An illustration by Duncan Bullock that features early peoples carving rock art.

Project Archaeology pilots or tests all of its materials in classrooms before we publish it. There is a rigorous review process to make sure that everything we make available is the best it can be with the deepest level of understanding. Teachers, descendent community members, and archaeologists who reviewed Investigating Rock Art had this to say about our new curriculum:

 

 

“How wonderful for students to see that art as communication is not an ancient thing, but something we can (and often do) use in our own world. It may be my favorite Project Archaeology activity yet!” – Beth McFaden, Maryland teacher and park interpreter

 

“Use of this curriculum would allow my students to focus on inferences! Students need lots of practice and this is loaded with inferencing opportunities” –Johnna Hammond, Idaho teacher

 

“Investigating Rock Art is a great introduction to the study of rock art in archaeology, and I think it will inspire students to learn more about archaeology and help foster an appreciation for rock art and our shared heritage” –Candice Cravins, Alabama archaeologist and museum educator

Science, history, and art have far more in common than one may at first assume. Combining all these subjects in a single curriculum guide helps students gain a deeper understanding of the material. This is because they are given the process and tools to approach the subject matter from different

Photograph of rock art, courtesy of Zane Fulbright

A photo of rock art from Montana courtesy of Zane Fulbright.

angles and perspectives. Rock art is found all over the world and all over the United States. Rock art has the unique ability to show students a form of communication that humans have used for as far back as 60,000 years ago up until modern times, such as in the form of painted images or carving made by migrants moving west on overland trails.

This high-quality curriculum about rock art exposes students to different forms of artistic expression and allows them to discover sites like Medicine Rocks that are often famed more for their beauty than for their historical and archaeological relevance. Students create their own rock art with engaging hands-on

Photo of rock art from Utah, courtesy of Bob Wick.

Rock art from Utah. (Photo courtesy of Bob Wick)

techniques to give them a frame of reference for analyzing rock art with their classmates. Though the site itself is in Montana, this new curriculum can be in classrooms throughout the US. It promotes valuable skills like data and image analysis through its inquiry-based learning model. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about some of the cultures that carved the images and hear from descendent community members and experts on the site.

As you begin planning lessons for this upcoming school year, think about incorporating Investigating Medicine Rocks into your classroom and give your students exposure to a unique subject while still satisfying education requirements!