Grade 6 Archaeology Interview Project Builds Life Skills—With Help From Older Students

The archaeology interview project applies students’ understanding of the field of archaeology into a simulated job search, complete with the creation of a resume and a one-on-one interview.
For many years now, Middle School teacher Rian Otto has transformed a world history unit exploring the field of archaeology into an interactive, engaging and memorable unit that builds numerous life skills. 
It’s so memorable, in fact, that many older Tartans have come back to help prepare grade 6 students for the unit’s culminating assignment. 
Mrs. Otto’s archaeology interview project applies students’ understanding of the field of archaeology into a simulated job interview, complete with the creation of a resume and a one-on-one interview with a pretend archaeology team. 
The interviews are conducted with parent volunteers, with students often dressing professionally as job applicants do. In preparation for that interview, many older students return to help the grade 6 students with tips and feedback. 
Older Middle School students in both grade 8 United States history and grade 8 theater helped their Middle School peers, as well as students from the Upper School’s AP history class. The students gave helpful and specific feedback, such as maintaining eye contact and improving posture, and helped the younger students through a valuable test run before the final assignment.
“Many of the older students said they remembered feeling nervous before their interview when they did the project in grade 6, but that it was an experience they will remember for a long time,” Mrs. Otto said. “A few Upper School students shared that they have recently gone through interviews for their first job or internship and they applied the skills they learned in grade 6 during this project.”
In the archaeology interview project, students conduct research on what it takes to be an archaeologist. They learn what training and education is required and, once working in the profession, what processes are followed to discover, extract, research, and preserve artifacts.  
Next, students write a resume as if they are a 35-year-old well-educated, accomplished archaeologist who wants to interview with Seekers International, a pretend archaeology team.  Finally, students prepare answers to five interview questions and then they go through a simulated job interview with parent volunteers.  
“Through this project students learn about the importance of archaeology to the study of history, but also about the hard work and education it takes to work on an archaeology team,” Mrs. Otto said. “It is fun to walk them through the degrees you earn in college and who a reference might be on your resume. 
“Additionally, to be able to practice these real-life skills at such a young age is invaluable.  When they finished with the practice interviews, students shared that they felt very grown up and that it was exhilarating to go through an actual job interview.”
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