KC3: Mound Builders

This morning one of my lucky classes is connecting to one of the KC3 programs as part of the competition. Our class is one of the test audiences.

This program is on the Mound Builders and is presented by a school in Oklahoma. Their program included a Moodle site with activities. All of our students got accounts in their Moodle site to participate in the pre activities. I didn’t get to see this, but from what I heard it worked out great.

The videoconference started off with the students in OK asking questions of our students in MI, some of which referred to conversations they’d had ahead of time in Moodle. They talked about the weather, driving to Chicago, sports, snow-mobiling etc.

Dr. Dirt, the lead presenter from OK, drew a name out of a bucket, and threw a t-shirt to Amanda, one of our students. He threw it at the camera, and our teacher threw it to the student. Very funny. The kids really laughed. The t-shirt had the numbers of the student presenters in their basketball team.

After the preliminaries, the students in OK gave a little geography lesson on their state and then moved into the presentation. It included some live presentation from the students, visuals in a PowerPoint, and a taped interview with a local expert on Native Americans. After the video, our students had an opportunity to ask questions, but they didn’t have any.

Next, students learned about excavations and looting that has happened at one of the mounds nearby.  After this, the students divided into three groups already assigned. Within those groups, a person was assigned to be the mapper, the reporter, and the excavator. They had planned to have a jello mold at our site, but it wouldn’t set. So they had to improvise and show the students their jello mold on the document camera. The activity helped students see how excavators and archaeologists map and document everything they find as they carefully excavate.

After this activity, our students talked to the archaeologist who was in the taped interview before and learned about how the jello mold activity is similar to an archaeologist’s actual work. He also talked about what he had learned about the Native Americans who lived in Oklahoma based on his work and research.

After a little blip in the technology, another student shared additional information on how the Spiro people lived along with pictures of artifacts found in one of the mounds. The neat thing about student presentations is the extra humor and interesting questions interspersed throughout the program.

After we got reconnected, the conference went down again due to scheduling on the TN bridge that’s recording this for the KC3 competition. Considering the stresses of the technology, the students in OK did a great job in just keeping on! Our class liked it enough to stick around even though there were difficulties.

At the end, our students asked several questions about the mound builders. Then the OK students asked our kids if they could do a virtual field trip for them and what it could be on. I think it was a stunning question for the kids on our end. But they started to brainstorm some ideas on Michigan. To close, our kids said thank you and all the presenting students got on camera and waved.

This was a neat connection. You could tell the students had built a bit of a relationship ahead of time in Moodle and that definitely made a difference in the interactions, especially at the beginning. I look forward to seeing the results of the KC3 program.

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