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School Programs: Description of Activities
At Crow Canyon, we believe that the optimal educational environment is one that encourages students to actively participate in the learning process through hands-on activities and group discussion. Below are listed the various activities through which we convey key information and concepts about history, culture, science, and archaeology.
Please note that the specific activities in which a given group participates depends on grade level, program length, group size, weather conditions, campus capacity, and other factors. Activities can be modified to accommodate the cultural concerns of American Indian students.
Windows (or Inquiries) Into the Past
Students explore the concepts of cultural continuity and change by examining artifact replicas and other archaeological evidence representing different periods in Pueblo history. Through group discussion of their observations and inferences, students construct a chronology spanning thousands of years. (Windows: elementary students; Inquiries: middle and high school students)
At the Pithouse Learning Center, students explore a replica of a seventh-century Basketmaker pithouse and engage in a variety of hands-on activities, including firestarting (with a bow drill), making fiber cordage, and "hunting" with spears and atlatls.
At the Pueblo Learning Center, students investigate a replica of a masonry pueblo, including rooms and a two-story tower. They discuss natural resources and farming practices, learn Pueblo games, and weave on an upright loom, to get a feel for Pueblo life in the twelfth century.
Students get "hands-on" with the practical skills of field archaeology as they excavate and map site replicas representing different Pueblo time periods. Using the scientific method, students develop their own research questions and draw conclusions on the basis of their observations.
Under the careful supervision of staff archaeologists and educators, students excavate at Crow Canyon's current site, contributing to the Center's ongoing research into ancestral Pueblo culture. (Note: In accordance with Crow Canyon policy, we do not seek human remains as objects of study.)
Emphasizing proper site etiquette, the educator leads students on a tour of a current or recent Crow Canyon excavation site. Students learn about ongoing fieldwork and the results of previous excavations at other sites in the area. (Required for students who will excavate in the field.)
Students wash, analyze, and catalog real artifacts from recent excavations. They also visit the curation room to see and discuss artifacts from earlier excavations.
Students discuss the importance of pottery to archaeologists as well as to the ancestral Pueblo people, and they use ancient techniques to make their own pottery vessels.
Anasazi Heritage Center Tour
At the Anasazi Heritage Center, interactive exhibits on artifacts, analyses, and modern Pueblo perspectives enhance students' understanding of local archaeology. A short hike behind the museum to Escalante Pueblo affords a panoramic view of the landscape that was home to the ancestral Pueblo people.
Mesa Verde National Park Tour
Students typically visit Mesa Verde National Park, a World Heritage site, at the culmination of their program. They tour several excavated sites (including the famous cliff dwellings), visit the museum, and review the concepts they learned throughout the week.