Home: The Story of Maine
A Part of
the Main: European Settlement of the Mainland
Lesson #4: A Field
Trip to the Maine State Museum
For use with Module 1
Alignment with the Learning Results:
A CLEAR AND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR
Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and
technological modes of expression.
Reads, listens to and interprets messages from multiple
HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE, CONCEPTS, AND PATTERNS
Students will develop historical knowledge of major events,
people, and enduring themes in the United States, in Maine, and
throughout world history.
MIDDLE GRADES 5-8
Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of
selected themes in Maine, United States, and world history.
HUMAN INTERACTION WITH ENVIRONMENTS
Students will understand and analyze the relationships among
people and their physical environments.
MIDDLE GRADES 5-8
Students will be able to analyze how technology shapes
the physical and human characteristics of places and regions,
- Visit and analyze the Maine State Museum’s exhibit
12,000 Years in Maine.
- Create an artifact and write a description of that artifact
that demonstrates their understanding of the way technology
Timing: 3-4 class periods, with time outside of class
to complete assignment
- Access to the Maine State Museum’s archaeological
exhibit, "12,000 Years in Maine"
- Assignment Sheet #4
- Grading Rubric #4
- Field Trip Worksheet
Archaeologists study the material remains of ancient
cultures. Much of what they find buried under layers and layers
of earth are remnants of a certain culture’s technology.
A defining technology of the Paleo-Indian culture was the fluted
projectile point—a tip they affixed to the end of a spear and
used for hunting. Birchbark canoes were another sophisticated
technology—a perfect boat form for traversing Maine’s watery
landscape. Just before the European settlers arrived, Maine
Indians began using a new technology—the ceramic pot.
Our technology today looks very different than that used by
Maine’s ancient peoples. But in the same ways that their
cultures were defined and transformed by their technologies, our
culture is defined and transformed by ours. This topic is
especially pertinent to the Information Age—the tool of the
Internet is rapidly transforming our society and culture. This
lesson encourages students to compare their own culture’s
technology to that of cultures living in Maine thousands of
Technology—the practical application of
Archaeology—the scientific study of material remains
of past human life and activities
Culture—the customary beliefs, social customs, and
material traits of a racial, religious, or social group
Preparation for the Field Trip:
- Put the list of important terms on the board without the
definitions. Ask students to define the terms. Write down the
student definition. Then have students look the words up.
Discuss the dictionary definitions of these terms.
- Ask students to list all the "latest
technologies" they can think of. Make a list on the board.
How do these technologies affect our culture? How do they affect
the way we eat, communicate, worship, and die?
- Watch Module 1 with students. Tell them to look for
evidence of the technologies of Maine’s ancient cultures. Make a
list on the board of these technologies next to the one you’ve
made of our technologies. Compare the two lists.
- Give students their Field Trip Worksheets. Go over them
together. Make sure it is clear to them what they will need to
look for as they go through the exhibit at the Maine State
After the Field Trip:
- Discuss the field trip with the class. What did they feel
were the most advanced technologies of Maine’s ancient peoples?
How did those technologies affect the culture of the time? How
did their technologies change over time? What technologies did
Europeans bring to Native Americans in Maine that transformed
- Give students Assignment Sheet #4. Go over the assignment
and the grading rubric with students. They will be playing the
role of an archaeologist 1500 years in the future, who is
investigating Maine cultures in the year 2000. What kinds of
remains will we leave behind? Do some brainstorming with
students to get them thinking, then allow them to work on their
assignments on their own. See Assignment Sheet #4 for details.
- Have students evaluate their own work according to the
Grading Rubric #4. Grade them yourself, using the same
- Have students create a physical replica of the tool they
describe in their writing assignment.
- Discuss the political and ethical implications of
archaeology. Traditionally, archaeology has been the field of
European-American scholars, studying the cultures of Native
Americans. In the past, some Native Americans have objected to
the digging up of ancient burial grounds. Other Native peoples
feel that archaeology is an important way to learn about the
cultures of their ancestors. What do students think? What role
should ethics and diplomacy play in archaeology? Hold a debate
on the question of whether or not archaeologists should have the
right to excavate ancient burial grounds of Native