The Bruton Heights School is a historically black school off to one side of the main historic district at Colonial Williamsburg. It was also the site of one of our workshop-classes during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in July.
I wandered into the small museum display inside the school for a few minutes during break time and discovered some of the artifacts are from my own lifetime, including a yearbook, photos, and trophies from my own birth year and high school graduation year.
The facility was nicely renovated to house offices and classrooms. For our purposes, one large room served as the location of a workshop about archaeology. Our leader for the day was the intern who accompanied us for some of the week's activities.
She began by defining archaeology, which was simple enough, but when she began drawing concentric circles on the white board, I came to an unexpected realization. Those circles conveyed an important message - that there is more to archaeology than finding treasures belonging to famous people.
Archaeologists have learned that different area bring differing results, and the mystery of a dig site can be a very compelling thing. Before us lay a great cloth with brick patterns stamped in certain locations. Inside and outside of those locations were artifacts that should tell us a story. In this classroom simulation, the story was a true one, from an actual dig site at Colonial Williamsburg, and it was our jobs to decipher that story to the best of our abilities. We had a recording sheet to assist us.
While we were at the Bruton Heights School, our master teacher also presented this manner of investigating an image (left) and having students look at only one quadrant of the picture at a time and making observational comments about each quadrant. Just like the dig site, the conclusions being drawn were fluid and changed when other quadrants were revealed. A worksheet could be used for this evaluation as well.