The FWSU Story: Fletcher Elementary Students Dig Into Learning

Fletcher Elementary School students learn the techniques necessary to carefully and precisely conduct an archaeological dig. The students joined a team of archaeologists from the Northeast Archaeological Research Center as they conducted a dig along the Lamoille River in Fletcher.

Students at Fletcher Elementary School really dug into their learning on Sept. 20 as they supported archaeologists from the Northeast Archaeology Research Center at a dig site just miles from the school. The adventure was part of a year-long theme that focuses student learning on Vermont’s past and present. 

Fletcher Elementary School third grader Koda Chipman holds an arrowhead discovered as part of an archaeological dig in Fletcher. The school’s third through sixth graders assisted a team from the Northeast Archaeological Research Center on Sept. 19.

Third through six grade students from the school learned about the techniques and equipment used to conduct a professional dig, how to catalog their findings, and the many reasons individuals and groups participate in the work. In this instance, the group is helping Green Mountain Power meet its legal requirements as part of a permit renewal process. As the company raises and lowers water levels at their nearby dam, the question remains if important historical objects underground are being lost.

Fletcher Elementary School fourth grader Stephen Duchaine assists an archaeologist from the Northeast Archaeological Research Center in sifting through soil collected as part of an archaeological dig near the school. From the site, the team collected arrowheads, pottery, heat-cracked stones, and jewelry from over 1500 years ago. 

Students reviewed objects found at the site like arrowheads, earthenware and fire-cracked stones from about 1500 years ago before getting their hands dirty by helping to dig and sift the soil and watch for new discoveries.

Students from Fletcher Elementary School sift through soil that was excavated as part of an archaeological dig by the Northeast Archaeology Research Center. Participation in the dig was part of the students’ study of Vermont, past and present.

“Getting to see the old stuff, like the firestone and the arrowhead and part of a tool from a long time ago, was the best,” sixth grader Justus Cota said. “It was great to be learning about history in an all-hands-on way.”

An arrowhead was found in Fletcher as part of an archaeological dig. Students at Fletcher Elementary assisted professional archaeologists at the dig site on Sept. 20. 

“We actually got to help,” sixth grader Eli Tinker said. “We learned how and why everything was happening and really got to understand it way more than we would from a book or a video.”

Fletcher Elementary School students examine an object found as part of an archaeological dig in town. Archaeologists from the Northeast Archaeology Research Center worked with the students to teach the process of discovering buried objects from the past. 

“It was just really fascinating,” sixth grader Colin Wolfe said. “It was like history coming to life before our eyes. The soil was telling us a story and I couldn’t wait to hear the next part.”

Christopher Dodge is the Principal of Fletcher Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @FletcherFalcon

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