Investigating Archaeotype:
Group Report


Ray Kinne
Blanca Hernandez
Arlene Guerrero
Charrisa Smith
Jose Aranda
Dan McDowell

What follows is our group's answers to the questions raised in the Investigating Archaeotype exercise on February 28, 1996.

What exactly ISArchaeotype?

Archaeotype is a computer simulated archeological dig of ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia. Students construct meaning for hidden artifacts and research theories as to their validity in the ancient world.

How is it implemented?

There are three sixth-grade classrooms. They are all interconnected physically to each other, as well as to the computer lab. Groups work cooperatively to complete a computer-driven laboratory assessment that includes weighing and measuring their newly found artifact using metric measurements.

How much time does it take?

It takes six to eight weeks to complete.

What kind of hardware is needed?

At Dalton School, they used 4 Mac SE/30 work stations and a SE/30 fileserver with a 80 MB hard drive and 5 MB RAM. The slowest machine that can be utilized for this is a MAC LC with 8 MB RAM. At Juarez-Lincoln Elementary School they use LC 2 with 8 MB RAM. A Franklin Language Master is also used for pronunciation and definition.

What has the experience been at other schools where it has been tried out?

The experience at both schools has been very positive.

How are those schools similar and different to O'Farrell?

Dalton is an elite private academy in the Upper East Side of New York with a staff of PhDs and a 4 to 1 student to computer ratio. The ethnic diversity is limited when compared to the vast diversity of O'Farrell. They have a strong focus on multi-disciplinary teaching, as is O'Farrell's philosophy.

Juarez-Lincoln is similar to O'Farrell. There is a low socio-economic population. They are in the process of developing computer labs on campus for student use. Currently there are about two computers per classroom, they are on rolling carts which allows the computers to be utilized in the different classrooms.

Are those schools so different that it's unlikely that Archaeotype would be doable at O'Farrell?

No, because of the differences between Juarez-Lincoln and Dalton there is evidence that this type of program can work in any school willing to implement it.

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?

The students that participated in Archaeotype were involved in a number of activities including: on-line computer use of the Archaeotype software program, worksheets practicing the definitions related to the area of focus, artwork, and measuring artifacts. At the end of the activity the students came together as a class to share what they had accomplished. The students that worked with the Archaeotype describe their artifacts.

They learn about Greece, Rome, and Persia. The civilization, art, geography, and archaeology are studied. Concepts that are focused upon are cooperative learning, scientific research, cultural dating, problem solving, and many other wonderful concepts.

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 covers social studies, language arts, math, and technology. It is implemented differently at the schools. Dalton uses the program and expands on it, by utilizing on-line libraries developed by faculty on architecture, pottery, armor, and transportation. They use the videodiscs Perseus and Voyager's Louvre. At Juarez-Lincoln, they have three teachers involved, the math, social studies, and language arts. They interview people from other schools to obtain more information.

Is Archaeotype a complete success? A partial success? What are its weaknesses?

At Juarez-Lincoln it was rated as a 9 on a scale of 10. Students get much more information then in a lecture setting because they are more involved in the learning process. There is little included history included with the actual application, later versions could include more background history and related information and a guide for teachers to help them better implement it.

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?

It is a multi-media alternative to the textbook bound sixth grade curriculum on the ancient world. Students are becoming critical thinkers through their experiences and having to discover the information on their own. Students learn to transfer skills from one discipline to another.

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 rates high as long as it is able to include all disciplines in a thorough manner. When a subject is only superficially included there tends to be a lack of interest because there is no depth.

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?

Any teacher who is willing to give up the traditional control of the classroom and allow the students to experiment and collaborate amongst themselves. The instructors must be willing to let the students come up with their own interpretation. Teachers can come from all subjects.

What kinds of learners are best suited to Archaeotype? How do they feel about it when the unit is over?

This type of program utilize all different learning styles - kinesthetic, visual, auditory. The students feel swell.

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?

Yes, it would enhance their already very innovative school. It would work very with the family structure of the school. Any grade level would benefit from this type of activity that draws upon so many different skills and disciplines. Amen.

Return to the Investigating Archaeotype page. | WebQuest Results page