Marion Smeltzer, applied archaeology graduate student in the Anthropology Department and outreach specialist for IUP Archaeological Services, presented lesson plans and resources for teachers at the archaeology booth at the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting in Hershey on November 29–30.
The archaeology booth, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Archaeological Council and IUP Archaeological Services, presents material on Pennsylvania archaeology including free publications from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the National Park Service.
In addition, Smeltzer included virtual reality re-creations of archaeological sites and historic structures from Archaeology Island, now part of ScienceSim, a virtual environment used as a tool for visualization, training, and scientific discovery.
ScienceSim includes the re-creation of a Monongahela Village investigated in Western Pennsylvania, a Roman site in Cyprus, an underwater shipwreck, a Maya site in Belize, and a recent recreation of the Laurel Hill /Brown farm. The farm, established in 1790 and occupied until the 1960s, was the site of an antebellum community of former slaves. Because of its inaccessibility, it has been virtually reconstructed to show the landscape, buildings, and stone marking the graves of Civil War Colored Troops.
A new addition to the virtual site is a reconstruction of the Lemon House at the Allegheny Portage National Historic Site.
Smeltzer has been actively developing lesson plans and educational materials that teachers can use in conjunction with the virtual reconstructions.