Think Like an Archaeologist

Program Description:

Think Like an Archaeologist is a four classroom session program, with an additional visit to the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art and Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.  The sessions introduce 6th grade Social Studies students to the whole process of archaeology, from choosing an excavation site and learning to dig, to analyzing and caring for artifacts.  Each session is hands-on, led by faculty, staff, and doctoral students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.  This is a partnership program between Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art for 6th grade Social Studies students in the Providence Public Schools.


  • Enhance social studies curriculum by helping students to think about how people learn about the past
  • Develop critical thinking skills, especially emphasizing how to examine historical “facts”
  • Encourage students to practice writing skills, collaborative problem solving, group work, and public speaking skills
  • Introduce students to key archaeological concepts, such as stratigraphy, mapping, and dating
  • Help students learn to synthesize different sources of information on different scales


  • Educators from Brown and RISD will come to your classroom, during your class time, to offer four sessions
  • Sessions are designed to fit into a typical class time, between 45 and 60 minutes long
  • Four classroom sessions are typically held over a two-week or three-week period, interspersed with your regular class meetings
  • Museum visits can be scheduled for either slightly prior to the classroom sessions, or immediately following the sessions


Program Educators:

  • Each session is led by a minimum of two guest educators
  • Educators are drawn from a trained and experienced group of staff and graduate students at Brown University and RISD Museum
  • Program educators have offered these sessions for over 600 students in the Providence Public School system

How to Get Involved:

Applications are available on our Introductory Materials and Application page, or request one from Sarah Sharpe, Brown University ([email protected]).  For those not able to participate in the full program, materials can be made available for classroom use.


RISD Museum: Mariani Lefas-Tetenes, Educator for School + Teacher Programs, [email protected]

Haffenreffer Museum: Geralyn Ducady, Curator of Education, [email protected]

Joukowsky Institute: Sarah Sharpe, Manager, Finance and Administration, [email protected]