Login Join | Donate | Annual Meeting | Career Center | SAA News | Marketplace | Contact   Search
 Links to archaeology lesson plans and activities
Archaeology can enliven a classroom lesson in almost any subject, from Art to Zoology. We encourage you to try some of these archaeology lessons with your students. Let us know how they work for you -- and share your favorite archaeology lessons with us and others.


Unlocking the Past: Celebrating Historical Archaeology in North America 
Unlocking the Past, which is available in print as well as on the internet, covers archaeological research related to several historical themes including Cultures in Contact, Challenging and ChangingEnvironments, Building Cities, Making a Living in Rural America, and Cultures in Conflict. Strategies for utilizing Unlocking the Past as a student resource for gathering historical information through reading can be found here...

The Archaeology Channel
Archaeology lesson plans and activities from several dozen good sources such as  Discovery Channel, National Geographic Society, the New York Times, PBS, Houghton Mifflin, and many more.
dig! the archaeology magazine for kids
Teacher’s Guides for archaeology theme issues of the magazine dig! are available from Cobblestone Publishers

Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Resources and activities from the city of Alexandria, Virginia community archaeology program that help students learn about archaeology and the importance of preserving the past.

Alexandria Archaeology 
Archaeologists At Work:  A Teacher's Guide To Classroom Archaeology uses historic artifacts in classroom activities and lessons, offers historical archaeology case studies, includes a glossary, and resource lists. Print only.

The American Schools for Oriental Research (ASOR)
Digging Up Mesopotamia:Archaeology of the Ancient World.
An interdisciplinary unit for Middle School by Stephanie Elkins (ASOR)
Archaeology: Digging Deeper to Learn About the past
by Judith Cochran (ASOR)

Archaeological Institute of America
Lesson plans and projects that focus on ancient material culture and stress archaeological approaches and ways of thinking. Culture specific projects include Classical, Near East, Roman, and Medieval periods.
The Mystery Cemetery Project is an analysis of a small 3-D cemetery of skeletons and burial goods that teaches critical thinking skills and illustrates the importance of context in archaeology and social science.
Cargoes from Three Continents: Ancient Mediterranean Trade in Modern Archaeology. Teaching plans and resources developed by educators participating in an Archaeological Institute of America summer teacher’s institute.

Historic Jamestowne, Virginia is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America.
This lesson plan packet contains 2 short PowerPoint presentations for teachers --Archaeology 101 and The Archaeology at the James Fort; lesson plans for elementatry, middle, and high school students; a glossary and recommended reading for teachers.

The National Park Service
Teaching With Historic Places:  online lesson plans that use historic sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places to explore American history. For middle and high school history, social studies, and geography. Lessons can be adapted from upper elementary through high school. Each lesson includes maps, readings and photographs.

Project Archaeology
Intrigue of the Past:  A Teacher’s Activity Guide for Fourth through Seventh Grades.
Twenty-eight classroom tested lessons that use archaeology to teach science, math, history, social studies, art, language arts, and higher level thinking skills such as problem solving, synthesis, and evaluation.

Simon Fraser University, Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Doing Archaeology in the Classroom:  A Sandbox Dig
In addition to instructions for constructing and excavating a sandbox dig, these lessons stress the importance of site preservation, ethics, analysis, and interpretation in archaeology.

Smithsonian Institution, Anthropology Outreach Office
Archaeology in the Classroom: Comparative Garbage Exercise
(grades 4-12) by Alison Brooks
Sandbox Activity: Creating and Digging an Archaeological Site
(grades K-8) by Alison Brooks
Exploring Historic Cemeteries by Ann Palkovich
Random Strategies in Archaeology by Martha Williams
Relative Dating in Archaeology by Cathy Griggs

Smithsonian Institution, Office of Education
Decoding the Past:The Work of Archaeologists
Grades 3-8
Teaching From Objects and Stories: Learning about the Bering Sea Eskimo People
Grades 3-8; includes three lesson plans and additional resources.

Independence National Historical Park
Archaeology: History Found in Pieces
(1.81 MB) is a downloadable curriculum-based educational program meeting Pennsylvania and New Jersey Standards. It was created by the Independence Park Institute. Students take on the role of archeologists and piece together the stories of the buried past. The lesson plans have students investigate primary and secondary history resources (grades 5-12).

Society for American Archaeology
Teaching Archaeology: A Sampler for Grades 3-12. Background information, glossary, and four sample lessons from the SAA Public Education Committee.Archaeology and Public Education Newsletter: Lesson plans and lesson ideas originally published in the Newsletter’s Education Station.