Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaching History and Making Memories at SRAC

SRAC's Dick Cowles discusses early Native American contact and trade with the Europeans
(WAVERLY, NY) The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) hosted the 4th grade students in the Waverly, NY school system to a day of fun and learning at the Center recently.  Approximately one hundred and twenty five students in all walked to SRAC from their school and were treated to a unique experience that the Center provides as a follow up to their curriculum on Native American history.

This year’s event included SRAC’s Ted Keir, Dick Cowles, and Jack Andrus who ran stations that the students rotated through on Hunting the Woolly Mammoth, Early Trade with Europeans, and Native American Children’s Stories. While attending each station, students touched actual artifacts found in the locality as they listened to SRAC’s staff who taught them about the Native American people who lived here hundreds to thousands of years ago.  Cathy Hand, one of the 4th grade teachers in attendance told the children, “Before today we could only tell you about the Native American who lived here, but today you have seen and touched the actual evidence they left behind.”

SRAC's Ted Keir discusses early mammoth hunters
The field trip ended with the students broken up into teams and competing against each other in the SRAC “Stump the Chumps” contest where each team tried to come up with questions from each station that the others couldn’t answer. In the end, the winners were thrilled to take home actual net sinker artifacts that were donated personally by Ted Keir and in small drawstring bags embossed with “SRAC”. Keir stated, “Net sinkers are so common in our area and I have so many at home that I decided to donate some personally for this event today at SRAC. I hope that the kids that won these simple little stone artifacts that once were used as weights on fishing nets will be inspired to think about what life was like for the Native Americans in our area and that they continue to want learn more.”  

Deb Twigg, SRAC’s executive director added, “Everyone at SRAC looks forward to the field trips that we put on and we all take the fact that we are creating a childhood memory for these kids very seriously. I want to thank Waverly’s 4th grade teachers for bringing the kids and letting us be a part of their Native American curriculum each year. We enjoy it as much as the kids do.”

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