It has been a little over a year since I’ve been involved with Archaeology in the Community and it has been chock full of teachable moments. Unfortunately, I did have to take a sabbatical during the winter months, but I couldn’t wait to get back in action with Dr. Alexandra Jones and the other interns at AITC.
I am also working a full time job which often makes me reminisce about the days that I would accompany Alexandra to the “Archaeologist for a Day” programs. Then, I remembered my first educational program…
On July 8th, 2015 I attended my first Archaeologist for a Day program expecting to take photos and videos for social media purposes, but boy was I wrong! I began my morning by getting lost on my way to the recreation center where the program was being held, but I arrived on time and set up the beautiful mock dig pits we had built a week before. I was shocked by the number of children in the facility. Their ages ranged between 5 and 12 years old.
Everything was set and I began taking photos of the artifacts we used. Then Dr. Jones said it:
“You’re giving the ‘Intro to Archaeology’ lecture to the 5-7 year olds.”
Uh. Excuse me? … Am I qualified for this?
I knew why she was asking. There was no way we could fit all of the students in one lecture. I was nervous as hell – especially because I hadn’t even seen Dr. Jones’ normal lecture for the program. Alexandr had no doubt that I could do it and after four years of college classes, papers, and research, I must’ve learned something, so I went for it!
Bringing a little archaeology picture scrapbook to the back room with me, I recited all the fun “Intro to Archaeology” facts I remembered from the numerous courses I took in college in the simplest way I could. Of course, half the little ones thought archaeology was all about dinosaurs and the recent release of “Jurassic World” didn’t help my case. I anxiously sped through the lesson and archaeology scrapbook and I ran out of things to talk about while waiting for Dr. Jones to finish her more complex program. It was definitely awkward for a bit. Eventually, we pulled out a book of maps and talked about the different sites all over the world and where they would like to visit.
When the “lecture” portion was over, all of the students gathered for the “mock excavation” part of the program. I finally got to sit back and watch Dr. Jones do what she loves. Needless to say, she was much better at it than I was! During this time, I took photos. Then, I noticed the students were completely engaged and excited. The little ones couldn’t keep their hands out of the dig pits and were thrilled when they found the artifacts within their units. After the digging process, we analyzed the artifacts as a group and the students were proud to show off what they learned during the lecture.
Indeed, I did get to teach again and it worked out much better that time around! I do miss heading out to those “Archaeologists for a Day” programs now that I am working. It’s great meeting new, passionate kids every week and knowing that we may have inspired at least one child to pursue a career in the sciences.
Written by: Solai Sanchez
About the author: Solai Sanchez is a marketing intern at AITC and enjoys it because it combines her love for archaeology and marketing. Solai graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in archaeology at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Soon after graduating she began interning at Archaeology in the Community. During her year with AITC she has assisted with youth programs, traveled to Belize with Dr. Jones, and spent most of her time working on marketing campaigns for the non-profit. She is currently working at Catholic University of America as an administrative assistant at the law school.