New Albany News

Next STEM expedition will include archaeological study

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The New Albany-Plain Local School District's second STEM expedition, scheduled June 8-14 next summer, will take students to Colorado on an archaeological dig.

Sandra Willmore, the district's environmental and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum adviser, said 20 students are registered and there is space for 10 more.

The trip is open to students now in grades 5-7 who will enter middle school in 2014. High school students and adults are welcome, as well.

Willmore said the group will travel to Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in southwestern Colorado, a site that teachers and students visited in 2006.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center was founded in 1983 and "is dedicated to understanding, teaching, and helping to preserve the rich history of the ancestral Pueblo people, also called the Anasazi," according to the school district's website, napls.us.

"It is truly a STEM site as students must use science and math in the field," Willmore said. "They will be working with archaeologists there. Students will be trained at Crow Canyon before they are allowed to go into the field and participate in digging and documenting artifacts."

She said students will learn games that the Anasazi may have played, such as the hoop toss, and learn skills the ancient people had, such as basket weaving.

They also will take a guided tour of the Anasazi ruins in Mesa Verde, a National Park that has preserved "5,000 archaeological sites and 600 cliff dwellings from the Anasazi, who lived in the area between 600 and 1300," according to the district's website

Students will spend three days before the trip team building by climbing together on an indoor rock wall at Vertical Adventures in Columbus, Willmore said.

"We want the students to have a chance to get to know each other before the trip," Willmore said.

Students also will visit the Newark Earthworks to learn about Ohio archeology and meet with former Crow Canyon instructor Mary Gordon. There, students can see replicas of artifacts from the Hopewell era in Ohio.

Willmore, fifth-grade teacher Pete Barnes, eighth-grade math teacher Laura Lombardi and eighth-grade science teacher Mandy McNamara will accompany students this year.

Last year's STEM expedition, which took 18 middle and high school students to Moholoholo, a wild animal and nature preserve in South Africa, offered high school credit for the course.

Willmore said this course is different.

"There are a variety of educational opportunities for students to learn, including some that are for credit and some that are not," Willmore said. "However, students will be exposed to college-level archeology instruction at Crow Canyon."

The trip is estimated to cost $1,710 per person and includes airfare, lodging, transportation and meals at Crow Canyon. It does not cover meals at Mesa Verde or airport snacks.

District officials ask students who are participating to make a $570 deposit for expenses by Dec. 18, with the second payment due by March 19.

Application forms for interested students are available at napls.us/nature/programs/stem-expeditions.

The results of last year's STEM expedition will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Cabela's, 1650 Gemini Place in Polaris.

New Albany students will display exhibits from their trip throughout the store, and at 3 p.m. the students will screen a documentary of the trip.

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