Home Education Magazine
September-October 1998 - Columns
Time Travel with a Teaspoon Archaeology For Kids
Caleb, our youngest son, wants (just now) to be an archaeologist when he grows up. Accordingly, he reads everything he can find on archaeological topics, surfs the Internet in search of the ancient, and subscribes to the magazine Archaeology, published bimonthly by the Archaeological Institute of America. Archaeology, which is aimed at adults, has a fairly sophisticated text, but the pictures - all in color - are great for persons of all ages. Each issue includes several feature articles about archaeological discoveries worldwide. An annual subscription costs $20.00; contact Archaeology Subscription Service, P.O. Box 420423, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0432; (800) 829-5122; or visit their web site at http://www.archaeology.org.
Caleb does not (yet) belong to the Society for American Archaeology, but this is an excellent source of information for education-minded families with archaeological interests. The SAA publishes a newsletter, Archaeology and Public Education, which includes information on archaeological programs and projects, lesson plans, and student reading lists. Also available from the SAA are Teaching Archaeology, a free 28-page lesson plan collection for kids in grades 3-12, and Classroom Sources for Archaeology Education, a free resource guide listing books, publications, and other materials on archaeological topics for kids of all ages. An annual subscription to the newsletter (three issues) costs $10.00. Contact the Society for American Archaeology, 900 Second St. N.E., #12, Washington, D.C. 20002-3557; (202) 789-8200; fax (202) 789-0284; e-mail: email@example.com; web site: http://www.saa.org.
Issues of Calliope, Cobblestone Publishing's magazine of "World History for Young People," recommended for kids aged 10-13, often center around archaeological or ancient civilization themes. Also see the March 1991 issue of Faces, Cobblestone's magazine of world cultures for kids aged 9-12, which is titled "Archaeology: Finding the Past." It includes short nonfiction articles about the history of archaeology itself, the excavation of Pompeii, the discovery of a lost Spanish mission in the American Southwest, and the techniques modern archaeologists use for determining ages of ancient artifacts. (There's also a fictionalized account of the discovery of the Lascaux cave paintings by four young French boys in 1940, a Pompeiian puzzle, and an archaeological board game.) Back issues of Cobblestone publications cost $4.50 apiece; an annual subscription to Calliope (5 issues) costs $17.95. Order from Cobblestone Publishing, 30 Grove St., Peterborough, NH 03458; (603) 924-7209 or (800) 821-0115; fax (603) 924-7380; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web site: http://www.cobblestonepub.com.
A simple introductory book for archaeological beginners is Dennis Fradin's Archaeology (Children's Press, 1983), The "New True Book" series for readers aged 6-9. In a few large-print chapters, lushly illustrated with color photographs and drawings, Fradin describes the history and practice of archaeology and famous archaeological discoveries. One chapter, "Discoveries by Children," details exciting finds by kids, among them the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls by a pair of young shepherd boys and the discovery of the Altamira cave paintings by a nine-year-old Spanish girl. Fans of Ms. Frizzle and her wonderful Magic School Bus may enjoy The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells: A Book About Archaeology (Jackie Posner; Scholastic, 1997), in which Arnold brings a mysterious artifact to "Show and Tell" that plunges the class into an archaeological adventure. This is a volume in a simplified version of the original School Bus series, aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds.
All About Archaeology by Anne Terry White (Random House, 1959) for kids aged 8-12 is the book that first hooked Caleb on archaeology. It covers the history of archaeological discoveries in 20 short conversational chapters, titles of which include "The Oldest Burial in the World," "Heinrich Schliemann Finds Troy," "In the Palace of Minos," and "Machu Picchu." Try this excerpt: "What Schliemann wanted to do was cross over to Greece and dig up the grave of King Agamemnon. This famous king had been general-in-chief over all the Achaean princes who warred on Troy. Also he had ruled over Īgolden' Mycenae. That word golden had a great deal of appeal of Schliemann." Unfortunately it's out of print, but can be found in libraries and used-book stores. Norah Moloney's The Young Oxford Book of Archaeology (Oxford University Press, 1997), intended for the same age group, features a more challenging text, accompanied by a wonderful array of illustrations, including photographs, drawings, and maps. The book covers both archaeological techniques and the history of famous archaeological discoveries, among them the excavation of Pompeii and the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. Dig This! How Archaeologists Uncover Our Past (Michael Avi-Yonah; Runestone Press, 1993) is the first of the "Buried World" series, a collection of short (60-70 pages) illustrated books on archaeological techniques, and ancient civilizations and their artifacts. Other titles in the series include Fired Up! Making Pottery in Ancient Times; Scrawl! Writing in Ancient Times; Piece by Piece: Mosaics of the Ancient World; and Sunk! Exploring Underwater Archaeology.
For readers aged 12 and up, try The Practical Archaeologist by Jane McIntosh (Facts On File, 1986), a terrific account of archaeological techniques and discoveries, heavily illustrated with photographs and drawings. The book covers methods of excavation and record-keeping, discusses such techniques as pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating, shows how to finger forgeries, and describes the fascinations of studying Iron Age farmers, Saxon ship burials, Inca mummies, and the (possible) site of King Arthur's Camelot. Brian Fagan's Archaeology: A Brief Introduction (Addison Wesley, 1996) is a not-so-brief overview of archaeology, thoroughly covering the methodologies, philosophies, and history of archaeology. High-school-level readers should also see C.W. Ceram's archaeological classic, Gods, Graves, and Scholars (Bantam, 1976), an information-filled tale of adventure, romance, history, and science. The book is divided into four main sections: "The Book of the Statues," which covers Pompeii, Troy, Mycenae, and Crete; "The Book of the Pyramids" (Egypt); "The Book of the Towers" (Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumeria); and "The Book of the Temples" (Aztecs, Mayas, and Toltecs). Chapters have such irresistible titles as "Evans: Crete and the Minotaur," "Champollion:Treason and Hieroglyphics," and "Layard: A Dilettante Outwits a Pasha."
For a hands-on archaeological experience, kids might try creating their own artistic artifacts with a Prehistoric Cave Painting Kit. The kit includes a foot-square stone tile for painting upon, a stone palette and grinding stone, twig tools, and four packets of natural pigments. The kit contains an illustrated instruction booklet which includes a short history of cave painting. A less expensive version of the kit, the Rock Art Painting Kit, contains pigment packets, twig tools, and an instruction booklet; users must supply their own rocks. Both kits are available from Ancient Graffiti, 52 Seymour St., Middlebury, VT 05753; (802) 388-2919 or (888) 725-6632; fax (802) 388-7104; e-mail: email@example.com. Expedition! Archaeology Around the World contains projects for both aspiring archaeologists and paleontologists: the kit consists of six blocks of clay, each purporting to come from a different "expedition." From these, kids excavate bones, stones, and artifacts ostensibly from ancient Egypt, ancient Europe, the dinosaur fields of Montana, and the Central American rainforest. An informational instruction booklet is included. The kit costs $29.95 and is available from Young Explorers, 825 S.W. Frontage Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80524; (800) 239-7577 or (800) 777-8817; fax (970) 484-8067; web site: http://www.youngexplorers.summitlearning.com.
Or kids can re-enact life in the Stone Age with Bones & Stones, a simulation for students aged 9-13. The simulation is divided into six parts, variously concentrating on the development of early hominids, daily life in the Stone Age, the development of language, cave art, and megaliths. The sixth unit summarizes the material learned. Kids, for example, make spear-throwers and participate in a hunting game, invent a prehistoric language, design cave paintings, interview a typical Stone Age family, and create a replica of Stonehenge. Complete instructions, materials, and suggestions for additional multidisciplinary activities, packaged in a notebook, cost $46.00; order from Interact, 1826 Gillespie Way #101, El Cajon, CA 92020; (800) 359-0961; fax (800) 700-50 93; web site: http://www.interact-simulations.com.
For the computer literate, Introduction to Archaeology is an interactive CD-ROM in which a mysterious skeleton has been discovered at an archaeological dig. Players must analyze their find using a range of archaeological techniques. The program includes video clips, detailed color graphics, a dictionary of archaeological terms, an informative "archaeologist's manual," and assorted games. The CD-ROM, a hybrid for Mac/Windows, is recommended for kids aged 12 and up. $59.95 from Zenger Media, 10200 Jefferson Blvd., Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802; (310) 839-2436 or (800) 421-4246; fax (310) 839-2249 or (800) 944-5432; e-mail: access@ZengerMedia.com; web site: http://ZengerMedia.com/Zenger.
Finally, for those eager to get out in the field, armed with trowel, teaspoon, and paintbrush, and dig, the Archaeological Institute of America published the Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin (AFOB), a detailed list of digs, field schools, and programs with positions for volunteers or students. A copy costs $9.00 (AIA members) or $11.00 (nonmembers), plus $4.00 shipping and handling, from Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Dr., Order Department, Dubuque, IA 52002; (319) 589-1000 or (800) 228-0810. The USDA Forest Service publishes a 50+-page list of archaeological fieldwork opportunities at Forest Service-sponsored sites around the United States. The list, titled the PIT (Passport in Time) Traveler is published twice a year, in September and March. Fieldwork projects are listed by state; for each is included a description of the project, number of openings, minimum age, facilities, and location. Most are appropriate for kids and families. To get on the mailing list, contact Passport in Time Clearinghouse, Box 31315, Tucson, AZ 85751-1315; (520) 722-2716 or (800) 281-9176.
For listings of archaeological fieldwork opportunities on-line, see the Society for California Archaeology (http://www.scanet.org), the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (http://www.cr.nps.gov/ncptt), or Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities (http://durendal.cit.cornell.edu).
The bad part: You don't get to keep anything you find.
The good part: It's the finding that's the most fun.
Reading Through the Ages
By Linda Thornhill and Sally Barnard, developers of the TRISMS curriculum (see review in HEM, March/April 1996), Reading Through the Ages is a 60+-page chronological listing of historical fiction books and biographies for kids of all ages, covering world and American history from 3000 B.C. to the present day. The list includes book titles, authors (no publishers or publication dates), page counts, and a few words of description. A reading level recommendation is included for each book selection: A indicates an adult book; YA, "young adult," generally means high-school age; J, "junior," targets kids aged 9-13; and E, "easy reader," indicates books appropriate for kids aged 6-9.
The list begins with ancient Egypt (Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise McGraw; Zekmet the Stone Carver by Mary Stolz) and proceeds through Greece and Rome, the Dark and Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Industrial Age, and finally - in ten-year increments - through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A definitely useful reference for those looking to supplement a history program or for young history buffs intent on a good read.
$15.00, plus $2.50 shipping and handling (OK residents must add sales tax); from TRISMS, 5710 E. 63rd Place, Tulsa, OK 74136; (918) 491-6826; web site: http://www.trisms.com
The Game of Shakespeare
An attractive, substantive, and thoroughly enjoyable board game based on Shakespeare's plays. Players move their playing pieces - which look like chess pawns and knights - around a colorful playing path that represents a tour of the History, Comedy, and Tragedy plays, competing to be the first to arrive at the Globe Theater. At each space on the path, players receive penalties or benefits based on the plot of The plays: encounter an angry King Lear or a nasty-tempered Katharine (The Taming of the Shrew), for example, and you lose a turn or retreat two spaces; land on the Forest of Arden (As You Like It) and you meet your true love and win an extra roll of the dice.
The game can be played at several levels, from the very basic, for beginners with no knowledge of Shakespeare, to the advanced, recommended for Shakespearean fanatics. At more advanced levels, players are challenged to name characters from each of the plays or to identify the sources of quotations from a pack of 180 Quotation Cards. In which play, for example, do you find "Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to rest" or "Brevity is the soul of wit"?
An accompanying booklet contains synopses of all 37 plays, a chronology, and a list of quotation sources. For 2 to 4 players, aged 10 and up. $25.00 from Avalon Hill Game Co., 4517 Harford Rd., Baltimore, MD 21214; (410) 254-9200 or (800) 999-3222; fax (410) 254-0991; web site: http://www.avalonhill.com
Anybody studying the history of the American Indians? For an innovative addition to your curriculum, you might try Beaver Tooth, a game played for centuries by the "First People of the Pacific Northwest." The game includes a woven basket, four carved beaver teeth (dice), and a bundle of "counting bones." (In the original game, the beaver teeth were real teeth and the counting bones, bird bones; in the modern version, both are reproductions, made from bone-colored polymer.) The game is simple, fast-paced, and fun: depending on the fall of the carved teeth, players win counting bones; the player with the most bones at the end of the game wins. An accompanying color-illustrated booklet contains a native legend about the origin of the beaver, historical background information about the Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest, a list of related reading suggestions, and a history of the Beaver Tooth game.
For two or more players, aged 6 and up. $19.95; from the Skookum Jump Rope Co., Box 1159, Port Townsend, WA 98368; (800) 255-9526; fax (360) 379-9049.
For those too pressed for time - and aren't we all? - to plow through the intricacies of the Internet for ourselves, Rock Hill Press's Web Feet provides Internet research by subscription. Subscribers get a fat white looseleaf binder organized by academic subject with color-coded sectional dividers. Subjects include "Literature and Language Arts," "History, Archaeology, Geography, Politics, and Current Events," "Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology," "Arts and Culture," "Mass Communications," "Math and Computer Science," "Biology, Chemistry, and Physics," "Earth Sciences and the Environment," "Business and Economics," and "Personal Interest." An annotated packet of web site listings for each then arrives each month, ready to be clipped into the proper notebook section. For each featured site, there's a detailed paragraph of description and a black-and-white photograph of the home page. The monthly packets also include a list of "Calendar Connections" - web sites related to events in the upcoming months, such as Women's History Month, Earth Day, or the anniversary of the founding of the Red Cross - and an inclusive "Subject Index."
Web Feet is generally recommended for students aged 12 and up, but some of the listings are targeted at younger children and many are appropriate for all ages.
An annual subscription (includes notebook with dividers and 12 annotated web site packets) costs $66.50 from Web Feet, Rock Hill Press, 14 Rock Hill Rd., Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004; (888) ROCKHILL; fax (610) 667-2291; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web site: http://www.rockhillpress.com
An interactive tour of western philosophy on CD-ROM, based on the book of the same name by Jostein Gaarder (see review in HEM, May/June 1997). Along with 15-year-old Sophie Amundsen, players learn about the history of philosophy using a combination of games, puzzles, and e-mail messages and debates with Alberto Knox, Sophie's mysterious philosophical mentor. As they progress through the world of philosophical thought, kids attempt to answer and understand the "big questions," such philosophical classics as "Can our senses tell us what the world is really like?," "What am I?," and "Is there a right way to live?" Help, for those who get stuck en route, is provided by a blue-eyed Gadfly, representing Socrates, who styled himself a "gadfly trying to sting Athens out of ignorance."
Sophie's World encompasses eight historical epochs, covering everything from early Norse mythology to Jean-Paul Sartre. Included are detailed information about the lives and theories of 28 prominent philosophers, among them Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud, a Philosophy Map (a creative timeline picturing the interconnecting influences that shaped philosophical theories), an interesting text, assorted quick-time movies, and links to related Internet sites.
Recommended for students aged 12 and up. $39.95 on CD-ROM for Mac OS or Windows from Learn Technologies Interactive, Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05417; (888) 292-5584; web site: http://voyager.learntech.com
Atom and Cogniz
A pair of bimonthly science magazines for upper-elementary through high-school students from New World Publishers. Atom is targeted at readers aged 9-12; Cogniz is aimed at teenagers. Each magazine issue contains several color-illustrated feature articles on a wide range of scientific and mathematical topics.
Past features in Atom, for example, have covered lightning, whales, infinite numbers, and the geology of the Grand Canyon. Regular columns include "Space Scoop," accounts of recent astronomical events and explorations; "Science Reporter," which includes interviews with scientists and researchers; and "Water World," which covers oceanographic studies and research updates.
Sample feature articles in Cogniz have centered around the biology of elephants, the laws of gravity, and the geometry of the Eiffel Tower. Each issue also includes "Chat," a column of interviews with working scientists; "Space Beat," on astronomical phenomena and space missions; "Earth Life," on all aspects of life on Earth; and "Every Body," on human health and physiology. Both magazines also contain science news, book and software reviews, web site recommendations, and science-related puzzles, problems, and exercises.
An annual subscription to each magazine (6 issues) costs $25.00 from New World Publishers, Box 7216, Austin, TX 78713-7216; (888) 397-5264; fax (512) 495-9667; web site: http://www.atom-cogniz.com
Days of Knights and Damsels
Originally published as Huzzah Means Hooray!, Days of Knights and Damsels by Laurie Carlson (Chicago Review Press, 1998) is a project-stuffed activity guide to the Middle Ages for kids aged 5-12. Activities are grouped into eight major categories: "Let's Dress Up," "Time to Eat," "Heraldry," "Fun & Games," "Write It Down," "Arts & Crafts," "Everyday Life," and "A House is a Home." For each is included a materials list, detailed instructions, and historical background information. Young knights and damsels, for example, can make a Robin Hood cap, a princess hat, or a suite of armor (out of plastic milk jugs); whip up a batch of porridge or bake a "4 & 20 Blackbird Pie;" make marbled paper and try their hands at calligraphy; create a triptych; concoct rose water and herb salts; or build a soup-can castle. $14.95 from bookstores or the Independent Publishers Group, 814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610; (800) 888-4741.
© 1998 Becky Rupp
....(articles list) | columns list)....
HEM General Information
Subscribe to HEM