Education from the Trenches: The 2014 Season

How Ashkelon is getting kids involved in archaeology

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Last summer we at BAR informed our readers about a unique education opportunity taking place at Tel Ashkelon in Israel. The Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon brought elementary educators on staff to create an archaeology curriculum for students in preschool through 8th grade—straight from the trenches to the classroom! Their engaging curriculum has already had a wide reach, and we’re looking forward to what’s next.

This year we checked in with Kerrie Rovito, a science teacher at Hamilton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, who will spend the summer excavating at Ashkelon, for an update.—M.S.


 
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Dr. Tracy Hoffman Skypes from Ashkelon with students at Hamilton Elementary School in Chicago. Photo: Kerrie Rovito.

I am a firm believer that one of the greatest jobs out there is being a science teacher. This is because science teachers have the means to explore the world around them and learn like their students while traveling on great adventures—and then recreate for their class these experiences and show them how science can be applied many ways in their life outside of school.

I am currently a 4th–8th grade science teacher in Chicago, Illinois, and this summer I will be traveling to Ashkelon, Israel, to be part of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon’s archaeological excavation. During this time, I will not only be digging but also interviewing different scientists to find out what they do on the dig site and connecting it to math and science lessons for my students to learn at home. I will bring this knowledge to upper elementary grade/middle school students around the world through a series of videos, Skype chats, lesson modules and activities to help them recreate my experiences. These free lessons will include a variety of primary resources, one of the best ways to make learning more personal for students.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer on an archaeological dig? I Volunteered For This?! Life on an Archaeological Dig is a free eBook that gives you the lowdown on what to expect from life at a dig site. You’ll be glad to have this informative, amusing and sometimes touching collection of articles by archaeological dig volunteers.

I am continuing the work of my colleague, Nichole Moos, who traveled to Ashkelon for the past two excavation seasons to write curriculum for students in preschool through third grade. In the following years we hope to bring archaeology into more classrooms by expanding the curriculum program to include a variety of subjects for different grade levels.

While there are many lessons already published, more will be added to our site by the end of the summer. If you are interested in looking at any of the modules or trying them out in your class or at home, please visit digashkelon.com/modules or digashkelon.com/archaeology-101 to explore our curriculum. All lessons are free to view and use, and we would love to see pictures of them being taught in different classrooms!
 


 
Read about the first week, midseason progress and unanticipated conclusion of the 2014 excavation season at Ashkelon.
 

 
Kerrie-RovitoKerrie Rovito is a 4th–8th grade science teacher at Hamilton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Elementary Education and is Nationally Board Certified in the area of Early Adolescent Science. Kerrie has created numerous science and social studies units which emphasize hands-on learning and engineering practices.

Posted in Digs 2014.

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