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Archaeologist for a Day

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Fourth graders transformed into archaeologists when Cara Ratner, the owner of Archaeology For Kids, visited on Friday, September 29. Students were taught that archaeologists are scientists who study people from the past and were tasked to reconstruct artifacts (pieces of plates) in small groups just as if they found them while digging at a site.

Archaeologists discovered that people have lived in San Diego for at least 10 thousand years, including the Kumeyaay Indians. Ms. Ratner’s visit ties into the social studies curriculum where students are studying Native Americans and the use of clay to make bowls, pots and cups. Students were given clay to make a piece of pottery, called a pinch pot, and used shells to make impressions before it dried.

“Ms. Ratner really brings archeology to life,” said Grade 4 teacher Diana Vahedi. “She helps the students understand the impact that studying past cultures has on future generations. It also awakens them to the history and culture here in their community.”

Students learned that because there’s no real way to know if the history is correct, archaeologists use inferences, a guess based on the information. The visit also ties into the fourth-grade reading curriculum, where students create their own observations and inferences through verbal stories. All of this knowledge will help when students visit Mission San Diego, Padre Dam and Cabrillo National Monument where they will see artifacts found by archaeologists from California history.
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