November 6, 2023
On October 14, two members of the AIA Programs Department team, Rachel Mead and Kati Albert, participated in the 2023 Geek Is Glam STEM Expo for Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts hosted on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Over the course of the afternoon, over 400 girls in 4th through 8th grade visited the Geek is Glam expo hall where the AIA had a table. The goal of the event was to make a difference in how girls view and participate in STEM, and we hope we encouraged some to consider archaeology as a hobby or career.
The AIA table provided both active and passive learning opportunities to engage with both at the event and to take home. The primary focus of the table was a pottery refitting exercise that we called a “puzzle” in the hopes of drawing as many kids into the activity as possible. It was a good activity because even “failing” to put the pots back together served as a good lesson in the frustration archaeologists often feel! Do we usually find all the pieces? No! It also shows that we don’t always have all the information for reconstructing the past, and that there can potentially be multiple plausible explanations for an assemblage.
The table also included copies of ARCHAEOLOGY magazine, coloring pages, and pins with fun and punny slogans for kids to take if they were interested. Hopefully this appealed to a wide audience, and many of the children seemed particularly tickled by the “cultural material girl” pin – it was unclear whether they got the reference, but we were completely out of this pin by the end of the day! Along with the “take one” section of the table, we covered our tablecloth with a definition of archaeology.
All in all, we had good interactions with the kids, and they seemed to enjoy the event overall and our table specifically. A major goal for us was to expose girls to the field of archaeology and provide them with a fun experience to instill confidence and a positive impression of archaeology as a welcoming field for them. Hopefully they’re all avidly reading their magazines and adding their pins to their bags and jackets!