Investigating Archaeotype:
A WebQuest

(Note... this document has not been updated since 1996. Some links, no doubt, are bad. Use this page as an illustration of the WebQuest concept (the actual first WebQuest) not as a useable lesson.)

Here's the situation: at a family meeting at O'Farrell, the other teachers in your family were talking about something called Archaeotype. They've heard that it's a simulation of an archaeological dig, and that it might be a good activity to build a multi-disciplinary unit around. Given that you're here taking classes, they thought you'd be in a good position to investigate Archaeotype and report back to them with a summary of your findings. Two and a half hours from now, you will have written the report and developed an understanding of this innovative program.

The Task

Working in groups of five or six, divide up the task of investigating Archaeotype. You'll be given a few minutes to do this division of labor, and you can touch base with each other periodically. After approximately one hour and a half, you'll come back into your groups and teach each other what you know. As a group, you'll then work on a report to give to the teachers at O'Farrell which answers the following questions:


Here are the questions your family teachers have...

  1. What exactly IS Archaeotype? How is it implemented? How much time does it take? What kind of hardware is needed?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. Is Archaeotype a complete success? A partial success? What are its weaknesses?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. What kinds of learners are best suited to Archaeotype? How do they feel about it when the unit is over?
  10. 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?


There are a number of places you can go to gather the information you need.

  1. In the front of the classroom, there are three copies of the first section of an evaluation report done on the implementation of Archaeotype at Juarez-Lincoln School in Chula Vista two years ago. The pages describe how the project was set up, but the final results are not included. Don't take the copies away from the front of the class because there aren't enough to go around.

  2. On the World Wide Web, you'll find a description of The Dalton School in New York City where Archaeotype was created. To understand the philosophical underpinnings of Archaeotype, it would be useful to look at the history of Dalton and the Dalton Technology Plan.

  3. There's a page that gives a short overview of Archaeotype.

  4. There's a short article written by the creators of Archaeotype called Archaeotype: Discovering the Past Through Simulated Archaeology.

  5. There's a general set of readings about Constructivist Pedagogy at Columbia University. You might find something interesting there.

  6. For information about Juarez-Lincoln you can check out their home page.

  7. In the lab across the hall, North Education 273, there's a videoconferencing unit set up. At 4:30 PM, Bob Birdsell, a Juarez-Lincoln 6th Grade teacher, will be available to talk to you from Chula Vista and describe how his school implemented the program. Have some good questions ready to ask him.

  8. We also have a QuickCam and CUSeeMe software set up at the instructor's station in NE-271, from which you'll be able to chat with Wolfgang Heidmann, one of the technowizards at the Dalton School.

  9. We have invited students at Dalton to join the discussion by surfing over to our class chat line. We don't know if they'll be able to make it, but you should check there regularly starting at 4:30 to see who shows up.

Your Report

To allow your report to be shared widely, you'll be writing it in HTML. A template has been prepared for your use. Once your group is ready to begin writing, download the template and open it up with Web Weaver. Later tonight, we'll post your report on the web for world-wide perusal.

The Results

This WebQuest was done for the second time on February 28, 1996. The results can be viewed here.

This page written by Bernie Dodge. Last updated February 29, 1996.

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