What follows is our group's answers to the questions raised in the Investigating Archaeotype exercise on February 28, 1996.
What exactly IS Archaeotype? How is it implemented? How much time does it take? What kind of hardware is needed?
Archaeotype is a simulated archaeological dig used to discover hidden artifacts. Students work in cooperative learning groups to research artifacts and to construct a thesis about their findings. It takes anywhere from six to eight weeks to implement. The hardware needed is LCs with 8MB.
What has the experience been at other schools where it has been tried out? How are those schools similar to O'Farrell? Are those schools so different that it's unlikely that Archaeotype would be doable at O'Farrell?
The experience at Juarez-Lincoln, where Archaeotype is also in use, has been successful. Students at Juarez-Lincoln are in a multi-cultural environment similar to O'Farrell. The success of Archaeotype at Juarez-Lincoln supports its feasibility at O'Farrell.
What kind of activities do the kids do while using Archaeotype? What facts and concepts do they learn? What kinds of thinking skills and collaboration skills do they develop?
Activities that students undertake using Archaeotype are finding artifacts, analyzing size and weight, recording their findings and researching information using regular and on-line libraries. They learn problem-solving, working in cooperative groups, and formulating valid arguments.
How multi-disciplinary is Archaeotype? Is it implemented the same at both Dalton and Juarez-Lincoln? How could you extend it into other subject areas?
Archaeotype is multi-disciplinary in theory. Subjects would include Social Studies, Science, Art History and to a lesser degree Math.
It could also be extended into areas of Physical Education and Language Arts. However in reality, its main focus remains in Social Studies.
Is Archaeotype a complete success? A partial success? What are its weaknesses?
Archaeotype is very successful. However its weaknesses are lack of support, not enough teacher's aides, instructors with little training in technology. An interlink between schools that use Archaeotype would also be helpful.
What is the philosophy that underlies the design of Archaeotype? How does it define the goals of a good education and the characteristics of an ideal learning environment?
The philosophy behind Archaeotype is to promote constructive learning and active learners. This philosophy promotes a good education because it forces students to take responsibility for their own learning. There is a wealth of resources that would contribute to an ideal learning environment.
In Chapter 3 of Heidi Hayes Jacobs' book, Interdisciplinary Curriculum: Design and Implementation, David Ackerman describes two criteria for evaluating interdisciplinary units along intellectual and practical grounds. How does Archaeotype rate?
Archaeotype makes practical sense as an interdisciplinary unit, even though its implementation has not yet stretched across the different disciplines.
What kinds of teachers can use Archaeotype? What subject areas do they come from? What kind of personality or other qualities do they need? How do they feel about it when the unit is over?
Teachers would need to be willing to give over instructional authority to the students, have a grasp of technology and should be a bit on the nerdy side. They would have a sense of personal gratification for a job well done when the unit is over.
What kinds of learners are best suited to Archaeotype? How do they feel about it when the unit is over?
They would need to be self-motivated, inquisitive and able to work cooperatively. Students seem to feel a sense of accomplishment when the unit is over.
The Bottom Line: Should O'Farrell adopt Archaeotype for use in all of its sixth grade classes? Should something like Archaeotype be developed for the seventh and eighth grade classes?
We are convinced that O'Farrell should adopt Archaeotype and it would be appropriate for any grade level.