A group of Windsor Central Middle School students just finished weeks of ancient activities. Now, are they ready to learn the skills they need for the future?
Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, a team from Binghamton University paired Windsor middle school students with archeological activities to teach science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.
“The goal of the grant is to see if archeology is good to teach STEM disciplines, and I think we found it is,” said Laurie Miroff, Director of the Public Archeology Facility at Binghamton University. “We were able to teach a number of STEM disciplines and get them interested in ways they haven’t been before.”
There are five projects student teams worked on: testing cordage, or rope, making a wampum belt, testing bone, stone, and wood tools on different materials, making clothing out of leather, and atlatl training.
An atlatl is an ancient tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart or javelin throwing. Students investigated whether the size of the atlatl, or physique of the thrower affects the distance of the throw. 8th grader Alex Medovich spent much of the camp studying the atlatl, and the mechanics behind it.
“I was always interested but now that I’ve learned more about the science of the atlatl and other things, I’d like to learn more. I’ve already thought about doing PLTW (Project Lead the Way) in high school,” said Medovich.
Each student took a survey before the program began about identifying as a STEM learner. They are taking the same survey now that the camp is done. Researchers will compare the results, and conduct in-depth interviews with the students. The group from Binghamton University will be back in the fall for a second archeology camp.