Parents Night and the Final Day at Arcadia

Last day of Anthropology is Elementary 2015

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We did not have an official lesson for the last day. Instead, we had an overview of the semester and discussed key aspects of anthropology learned.

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Ending thoughts

Thank you to the parents, faculty, and students at Arcadia Elementary. We had an amazing time.

This semester entailed weekly 45 minute sessions with rotating lesson plans that focused on a specific aspect of anthropology: cultural, linguistics, physical, and archaeology.

The program combined lecture based learning and lab setting activities to facilitate retention of material.

The semester was overseen by my professor and another PhD student, but individual lectures were designed and taught by myself (a graduate student enrolled in a class focusing on developing detailed lesson plans, plan creative academic exercises, and see plan to completion).

The program was designed to expand children’s worldview, therefore lessons were adapted to couple anthropological aspects of Alabama with international culture that the students likely have no prior knowledge of. This year we focused on West Africa.

Parents Night

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For parents that requested the recipes:

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Museums at Arcadia

Week 7: Museums

Lecture

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A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and artistic, cultural, historical, or scientifically important items. They make these items available for public viewing through exhibits.

Some of the most attended museums include the Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There are many types of museums, including art museums, natural history museums, science museums, war museums, and children’s museums.  Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.26.23 PMMuseums have many different things on display, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, clothing, historical documents, and fossils.

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Anthropologists are interested the preservation of artifacts and the ability for them to be displayed for public viewing.

 

Activity

Each clan received one supply box in which to create their own exhibit. The art was created out colored paper, glue, tape, costumes, and other craft supplies. They named their exhibit and displayed all of their items. They then explained their exhibit to others.

 

Ending thoughts

IMG_6745This past week at Arcadia, the students became museum curators. Specifically, the Swimming Cheetahs became curators of the clothing and accessories worn by our clan throughout our long and fascinating history. Generous costume donations from the UA Theatre Department provided us with many options for expression.

To begin, we chose one person who would dress up as part of our exhibit. To make this rather difficult decision, we played the who’s-closest-to-my-number game, which will generally solve many of life’s most complicated questions. Our winner was chosen after she mysteriously guessed the number three, which was the exact number that had been chosen. Next, a blind vote led to the decision that this person would dress as royalty. Interestingly, it was a close vote with two votes for “everyday person” and three votes for “royalty.” IMG_6748

After these important decisions had been made, we decided on the hat, robe, and hair-feathers fit for our queen. This took nearly two minutes, so we decided that we should all dress as royal Swimming Cheetahs in the time remaining. The students had free range with their choices in dress.

To have the students think through the experience of curating a clothing exhibit, I asked them to place their style of dress (and themselves) in chronological order. Here’s what we came up with:

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We talked about why changes in dress may have occurred. Why did the king’s hat style change? Why did the queen’s robe change? How and why did the queen, formerly known as the Queen, become the Christmas Queen? Turns out, the Swimming Cheetahs really love Christmas. IMG_6753

I encouraged the students to “freeze” like statues. Juliann and I then “visited” the museum exhibit, stopping by each student while s/he explained where s/he fit in the history of royal Swimming Cheetah dress. Overall, it was a great exercise in museum design, and the students (and their instructor) enjoyed dressing as royalty.

  • Written by Anna Bianchi

The group assigned to me was tasked with building a model house replicating one, which might be found in a museum.  The group began by discussing what elements should be a part of the model.  The students decided that a roof and an outline of the floor were firsIMG_6755t priority and divided themselves based on what they wanted to create.  Two students built the floor plan on a foam pad using craft sticks, while two others began a roof using craft sticks and construction paper.  IMG_6756Those students who did not have a specific int-
erest worked with Robert to build a covered patio model from craft sticks, pipe cleaners and tape.  Students were encouraged to work cooperatively and share information between task groups so as to produce a cohesive final project. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented the project from being completed.  Nevertheless, the students displayed great enthusiasm throughout the activity and appeared to thoroughly enjoy it.

  • Written by Robert Templin

 

IMG_6752My group made headdresses. They really liked putting antenna-like appendages on their headdresses, and one of the boys decided to use streamers to make himself look like a squid.

The kids had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the activity.

  • Written by Larry MonocelloIMG_6757

Ethnography at Arcadia

Ethnography

Week 2: Ethnography

Lecture

Ethnography is the way that anthropologists study and teach others about cultures. Anthropologists learn about cultures by engaging different groups of people, asking questions, writing down their answers, and then thinking about the best way to understand behavior.

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Cultural anthropologists use an emic perspective when studying another group, meaning they describe a particular culture in terms of its internal elements.

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The focus of this semester is West Africa, and this week our lecture was about Benin. Students were intrigued that the people of Benin snack on bush rats! They also bonded over a love of soccer.

Activity

Last week students were broken into three clans. Each clan chose a name, selected a language, and determined a social structure. They even designed a flag. 

This week each clan selected 1 ethnographer per group, and then sent that ethnographer out to observe another clan’s culture using the Ethnographer’s Guide.

After interviewing other clans, told us what they learned about the new culture.

Lastly, the clan defended errors of interpretation.

Ending thoughts

I am lucky enough to have three amazing teaching assistants, who each govern a separate clan. They manage the students productivity and limit their rowdiness. (A task I can not be more grateful to not be handling alone.) They helped the clan select an ethnographer to travel to another group. Surprisingly, we had multiple students volunteer. I was giddy over the level of participation. All students were interactive as the ethnographer completed the survey. The TAs helped narrow the clan members answers, but every one seemed engaged for the length of the activity. When the ethnographers presented to the class, they were confident and demonstrated they had grasped the concept. I was very proud of these three students. (I rewarded them with lots of stickers to show my gratitude. Amazing what an 11 year old will do for a sticker!) In my opinion, this activity was a success. Although, I was unable to gauge if the students answering the questions understood ethnography as well as I could with the anthropologists.