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:

Guiding Principles:

Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression.
Reads, listens to and interprets messages from multiple sources.

Social Studies:

Students will develop historical knowledge of major events, people, and enduring themes in the United States, in Maine, and throughout world history.

Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of selected themes in Maine, United States, and world history.

Students will understand and analyze the relationships among people and their physical environments.

Students will be able to analyze how technology shapes the physical and human characteristics of places and regions, including Maine.

Students will:

Timing: 3-4 class periods, with time outside of class to complete assignment


Background Information:
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 years ago.

Important Terms:

Technology—the practical application of knowledge

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Museum.

After the Field Trip:

  1. 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 their culture?
  2. 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.
  3. Have students evaluate their own work according to the Grading Rubric #4. Grade them yourself, using the same criteria.