Oer the past two weeks, educators at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum conducted the Underwater Archaeology program at St. Pius X School in Norfolk. St. Pius teacher Virginia Davis was gracious enough to offer up some pictures of the event. HRNM Educators were fortunate enough to present the program for Jennifer Searcy, the new director at the Great Lakes Naval Museum in Illinois.
The program, which uses methods from history, archaeology, and primary source analysis, teaches students about the methodology behind underwater archaeology and sonar data. Each student plays a vital role as a "unior underwater archaeologist" throughout the activity. The program was originally created as a compliment to the 2007 Cumberland Club at the Hampton Roads Museum, which gave rising 8th graders in the Norfolk public school system the chance to experience being historians, archaeologists, and marine-scientists.
After a brief introduction to the science behind , students break off into groups and create a three-dimensional model of the ocean floor using multibeam sonar data. Each group depends on the cooperation and coordination of their fellow classmates in order to create an accurate model. Students use science and math skills in an effort to provide an effective cross-disciplinary approach to education.
The final portion of the program uses recovered "diaries" from the wreck site to further explain the role of historical evidence in discovering and uncovering the truth.
Merging archaeological evidence and primary source documents, students in each group deduce why the ship sank off the coast of North Carolina. Both Ms. Davis and HRNM Educators were very impressed by the students on both days of the program. It is an excellent team building activity for both individual groups and as a class.
For more information on FREE educational program opportunities at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, download the current planner here.