Building Blocks of History
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This full-day field trip provides students with a unique hands-on history experience. Students take part in three activities while at Riverside: They tour the historic Farnsley-Moremen House; they take part in an actual archaeology dig under the supervision of archaeologists from the Kentucky Archaeological Survey; and they make their own artifact of their experience by making a handmade brick and marking it – just as Gabriel Farnsley, the builder of the house, signed a brick when it was completed.
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The three components of the field trip reinforce concepts learned in each of the other sessions. After a large group orientation, the children are divided into three smaller groups. The groups move round-robin through the three activities (with a break for lunch) throughout the day. The house tour is critical to providing the students with context. Docents introduce the children to the history of Riverside. They also encourage the students to share ideas about what the building and other artifacts displayed in it may reveal about the people who once called Riverside home. In the process, Riverside reinforces the concept that what is known about the past is based upon interpretations of the artifacts that have survived into the present.
An archaeologist begins the archaeology session with a brief interactive introduction to the basic concepts, methods and tools of archaeology. When it is time to take trowels in hand, small groups are assigned to a trained facilitator who is either a professional archaeologist or an undergraduate or graduate student. These smaller groups get an opportunity to dig and screen for artifacts with careful guidance. Each child gets an opportunity to ask questions and otherwise interact with the facilitator as they work side by side. Before the session is over, the entire group is reassembled to share findings and review concepts.”Building Blocks” is an experience that allows participants to take part in the discovery process. The program is giving Riverside a chance to involve students in research critical to interpreting the history of the site. The children gain an appreciation for history and preservation through this exciting, active learning experience. These young people can justifiably feel a sense of pride and ownership in Riverside and their community’s history.