In an effort to integrate archaeology into kids’ curriculum, the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center and Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) have put together a day of exploration and excavation for kids of all ages set for Feb. 1.
Educating kids about the study of archaeology perfectly fits with Biophilia's mission of promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
"The Biophilia Center is dedicated to studying nature," explained Lauren Bray, environmental educator and volunteer coordinator. "Studying the history of the land and how it was used in the past is the perfect fit."
Archaeology is an inherently multi-disciplinary subject, said Nicole Bucchino, Northeast region outreach coordinator for FPAN. It's also a very hands-on subject that allows for effortless learning.
"Children can hone geometry skills through mapping excavations, discover chemistry with artifact conservation practices, utilize inference and induction skills during artifact analysis and interpretation and exercise reading muscles while learning about the past," she said.
Organizing the event, Bray made sure to include activities that are engaging. Some planned activities include sorting artifacts from actual excavations in downtown Pensacola conducted by University of West Florida, drawing artifacts underwater, learning to use ancient technologies and discovering the future of archaeology through the study of modern garbage — cleverly titled garbology. Perhaps the most popular activity will be getting the chance to throw an atlatl, which is an ancient spear.
An archaeologist from FPAN will also be at the event presenting two lectures at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
"Many children have an inherent curiosity about the past," Bucchino said. "We like to build on that curiosity by introducing new concepts and new perspectives essential to the archaeological process."
Much like a visit to Biophilia opens your eyes to the local ecosystem, through the archaeology activities, children of all ages will get the chance to see the world in a brand new light.
"Children discover history in a way that can be very meaningful for their personal, cultural or community identity," said Bucchino. "Archaeology is important in helping children appreciate the wide range of human experience and cultural difference."
WANT TO GO? Head to the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, 4956 State Highway 20 E., Freeport, Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 to 3 p.m. for the Archaeology for Kids event. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under and free for children 2 and under. For more information, visit www.eowilsoncenter.org or call 835-1824.