UI archaeologists create new online curriculum

UI archaeologists create new online curriculum

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Archaeologists from the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist partnered with a diverse team of Iowa and national educators and scholars to develop an archaeology curriculum, Investigating a Midwestern Wickiup, available free online through Project Archaeology beginning Jan. 31.

The upper elementary-level curriculum focuses on the wickiup, a type of shelter used by the Meskwaki and other Native American people living throughout the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes region at the time of European contact. The project highlights Iowa’s early environments, natural resources, and the interrelationship with human residents and their ways of life.

It incorporates unique insights from Iowa and Wisconsin archaeologists, formal and informal educators, and members of the Meskwaki community. It is part of the nationwide online curriculum series, Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter, which allows students to learn the fundamentals of archaeological inquiry and conduct their own investigation of an archaeological site through maps, artifact drawings, oral histories, and historic photographs.

The project development was enhanced by more than 50 educators who piloted the draft curriculum at workshops offered by UI archaeologists in Glenwood, the Meskwaki Settlement School in Tama County, the Midwest Environmental Educators Conference in Coralville, and Wickiup Hill Outdoor Education Center in Toddville.

This project was led by Iowa’s Project Archaeology Coordinator Lynn Alex, recently retired director of education and outreach for the UI Office of the State Archaeologist, and funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP). REAP is supported by the state of Iowa, providing funding to public and private partners for natural and cultural resource projects, including water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, parks, trails, historic preservation, and more.

Project Archaeology, developed by the Bureau of Land Management in the 1990s, uses archaeological inquiry to foster understanding of past and present cultures; improve social studies and science education; and enhance citizenship education to help preserve the nation'sarchaeological legacy. Modeled after environmental programs such as Project WET and Project WILD, Project Archaeology addresses national education standards, Common Core State Standards, and achieving science literacy.

In 2011, Project Archaeology received a “Partners in Conservation” Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and it is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

More information on the Office of the State Archaeologist may be found here.


Elizabeth Reetz, Office of the State Archaeologist, 319-384-0561


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