News for Friday, April 1, 2011

SAR Involved in After-School Apprenticeships

Various Pottery on DisplayVarious Pottery on DisplayPhotograph by Jason S. OrdazStudent Teams Discussing Pottery DesignsStudent Teams Discussing Pottery Designs
Various Pottery on DisplayStudent Teams Discussing Pottery Designs
A Student Presents His Pottery Designs on PaperA Student Presents His Pottery Designs on PaperStudents Discussing Pottery Shapes and TexturesStudents Discussing Pottery Shapes and Textures
A Student Presents His Pottery Designs on PaperStudents Discussing Pottery Shapes and Textures
Student Breaking PotteryStudent Breaking PotteryInspecting the Broken PotteryInspecting the Broken Pottery
Student Breaking PotteryInspecting the Broken Pottery

Surviving Santa Fe AD 1000 is a hands-on archaeological project engaging 7th and 8th grade students under the leadership of Dr. Eric Blinman, Office of Archaeological Studies; Janie Miller, School for Advanced Research; and Bob Mizerak, Friends of Archaeology. This unique project is one of several after-school apprenticeships being offered at De Vargas Middle School as part of the Citizen School’s initiative. Citizen Schools is a national education program aimed at increasing students’ academic engagement and helping them improve both traditional academic skills and “21st century skills” such as leadership and communication. Currently, there are three middle schools in New Mexico using the Citizen School’s apprenticeship program, in which community professionals volunteer their time to extend the learning day by offering discovery-based learning experiences that give students additional opportunities to succeed.

The 12 weeks of lessons and activities that Eric, Janie, and Bob are preparing for a group for 14 students focus on how people survived in the Santa Fe area with resources and technologies of 1000 years ago. Guest teachers are being brought in as content and skill specialists. The students have already brainstormed the essentials—water, food, clothing, shelter, tools, medicine, and family—and now they are on an adventure of discovery exploring each of these concepts. They have compared the throwing power of atlatls and spears, watched a flint knapping demonstration, used obsidian flakes to cut raw meat and rabbit skin, and split turkey feathers for arrow fletchings. In April they will be visiting a pueblo and rock art site along the Santa Fe River, a real world setting for the types of decisions they will need to make. The apprenticeship will culminate with each student choosing one survival concept to make, design or demonstrate for the Citizen School open house finale, called the “WOW.” The WOW gives the students an opportunity to share what they have learned with other students, their parents and the community.

The staff at the Office of Archaeological Studies and the School for Advanced Research have joined together to create an education program that is working to interest students in ancient lifeways and in archaeology, as well as giving them a special perspective on their present lives. Everyone involved in Surviving Santa Fe AD 1000, students, citizen teachers, and guests alike, have been enjoying this dynamic learning environment. 

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