Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter is a supplementary science and social studies curriculum unit for grades 3 through 5 (although experience shows that older students and even college students respond very well to this unit!). Launched in 2009, Investigating Shelter consists of nine comprehensive lessons guiding students through the archaeological study of shelter, including a toolkit of archaeological and scientific concepts, and a final performance of understanding.
Endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies, Investigating Shelter focuses on the mastery of seven enduring understandings through the topical theme of shelter. Its inquiry-based approach emphasizes archaeological questions, sources, and investigatory techniques to support a preservation ethic and draws on research-based literacy practices and disciplinary “ways of knowing” to inform civic decision-making.
The curriculum fulfills three interconnected objectives: increase cultural understanding, help students make a personal connection to history, and instill strong historic preservation ethics. It supports the Common Core State Standards in literacy and mathematics, especially through modeling the investigation process. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of archaeology, students can seamlessly integrate science (STEM) with literacy, mathematics, social studies, and history.