This resource pack is designed to use archaeology as a theme in teaching the Social Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum in an integrated manner. The main subject area covered is history with strong links to geography and science within the SESE framework. The pack is also designed to integrate across the entire curriculum.
The pack was first tested on a summer course organised by Limerick Education Centre in Scoil Dean Cussen School, Bruff, Co. Limerick in May 2003.
Subsequently it was piloted in six schools in Limerick City and County during the academic year 2003-4. It was then further developed in the summer course programme of 2004.
The feedback from participating teachers and pupils was of invaluable help, in particular the teacher logs from the pilot phase (see Teacher’s Log in each module.) The message that came through from this testing was that the modules were easy to teach and fun to learn. Archaeology is a very practical subject and the pupils of all ages and abilities readily engaged with its hands-on activity-based structure.
The pack is divided into twelve modules. It also contains Source Material, Health & Safety Guidelines, Glossary, and a general introduction to Irish archaeology entitled Brief Guide to Monuments and Artefacts.
The modules follow sequentially but there is an in-built flexibility. Each module can stand alone as an individual lesson plan. They can also be taught in smaller groups or as a sequenced programme, in four basic stages. The flexibility means that the teacher is free to pick and choose amongst the modules in whatever order suits their needs, and can select within the modules those sections that are appropriate to the particular age group they are teaching.
• The first three modules focus on ‘archaeology’ in general terms. Module 1 is an introduction to the concept of archaeology. Module 2 uses a timeline to look at the main periods of Irish archaeology and introduces some of the monuments and artefacts from each period. Module 3 deals with archaeological excavation.
• The next three modules focus on the Stone Age and feature practical experiments that explore the lifestyle of pre-historic people.
• Modules seven to nine look at old buildings and should give the pupils some basic skills to describe and appreciate their built heritage.
• As the curriculum places great emphasis on local studies the last three modules focus on this. It should be noted that module twelve is different from the others. It takes the form of a suggested project whereby the skills and abilities developed in the other modules, particularly modules seven to ten, are applied in terms of the area immediately surrounding the school.
Each module is presented in three stages, the first stage is the lesson plan itself which is laid out in a
sequential manner through to a closing activity. This also features some useful weblinks, and the key terms introduced in the module. The second stage contains the various activity sheets for the module. These can be photocopied and distributed to the pupils during the activity stage. The final stage contains the teacher guidelines. The guidelines are divided into (a) managing the module, which gives instructive information on applying the module to both junior and senior classes, (b) relevant background information where appropriate, and (c) the skills and strands which detail how the module compliments the revised Primary School Curriculum. Unfamiliar archaeological terms or technical words are highlighted in dark blue and a brief explanation of these is given in the Glossary.
Each module emphasises pupil-centred learning, in which pupils actively engage in activities that enable them to become educated observers. This complements the curriculum’s objective to teach pupils the skills of ‘working as an historian’.