Discovery guide to Florida's early native people: a three-part field trip guide for the Florida Museum of Natural History

Material Information

Discovery guide to Florida's early native people: a three-part field trip guide for the Florida Museum of Natural History
Belcoure, Jessica
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis


Subjects / Keywords:
Art museums ( jstor )
Classrooms ( jstor )
Field trips ( jstor )
Indigenous peoples ( jstor )
Informal learning ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Museums ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Tours ( jstor )
Miami metropolitan area ( local )


Taking elementary level students on a museum field trip presents a variety challenges; from managing the students' rambunctious behavior, to preparing chaperones for leading their groups through the museum. This project examines the challenges elementary school teachers face throughout the field trip process and offers a three-part field trip model and provides pre-trip classroom activities, an exhibit guide, and post-trip classroom activities to teachers planning a trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History. The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People uses established education and museum theory to facilitate a comprehensive field trip experience that helps teachers and students create meaningful connections between the museum's content and their classroom curricula.
General Note:
Museum Studies terminal project
General Note:
Spring 2012

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the submitter.
Resource Identifier:
913516755 ( OCLC )


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2012 Jessica Belcoure


D e d ica tio n ..................................................................................................................................................... 1

A b stra ct ........................................... .... .................................................................. ...... ............................ 2

C h a p te r 1 ..... .... .................................. ....................................................... .......................................... 3
P re -V isit ........................................................................................................................................... 4
V isit.................................................................................................................................................1 1
Post-Visit ................................................................................................................................. 16

Chapter 2..................................................................................................................................................... 20
Pre-Visit Activities ..................................................................................................................... 22
M museum Visit ................................................................................................................................. 23
Post-Visit Activities......................................................................................................................... 31

C h a pte r 3 .......................................................................................................................... ......................... 3 3

Appendix: Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People.............................. .............. ............ 40

Bibliography .......................... ................................................................................................................ 54

Biographical Sketch ..................................................................................................................................... 57


To my mom and dad.
Their unwavering support allowed me to move beyond the agony of fourth grade fractions and pursue
the academic success I would have otherwise deemed impossible.

To my teachers.
From preschool to master's thesis, I have been blessed with inspirational and talented teachers whose
investment and encouragement has made all the difference to me.

Summary of Project Option in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts



Jessica Belcoure

May 2012

Chair: Glenn Willumson
Major: Museum Studies

Taking elementary level students on a museum field trip presents a variety challenges; from

managing the students' rambunctious behavior, to preparing chaperones for leading their groups

through the museum. This project examines the challenges elementary school teachers face throughout

the field trip process and offers a three-part field trip model as a practical solution. The Discovery Guide

to Florida's Early Native People embraces the three-part field trip model and provides pre-trip classroom

activities, an exhibit guide, and post-trip classroom activities to teachers planning a trip to the Florida

Museum of Natural History. The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People uses established

education and museum theory to facilitate a comprehensive field trip experience that helps teachers

and students create meaningful connections between the museum's content and their classroom



A group of fourth graders rushes into a museum. Fresh off their school bus, they are red-faced

with excitement and sprinting circles around the lobby and their chaperones. They grab anxiously at

each other, trying to form buddy groups. The teacher attempts to corral the students as they feverishly

crane their necks to get a full visual of the museum and some even wander away from the group to get a

better view. They yell questions about the museum that are unrelated to the museum's content. The

students appear to have no concept of where they are, why there are here, or what they are going to

see and do. Many students ask questions about lunch or visiting the gift shop. One student vomits.

One teacher leads the group of fourth graders. She asks where the bathroom is. She expresses

concern that the students will not have a docent-led tour of the museum. After gathering the students

and chaperones back into a group, she passes out scavenger hunt worksheets to be completed while the

students view the exhibits. While in the museum, she floats between groups of students to ensure that

they are well behaved.

Ten chaperones stand huddled in a corner of the lobby, drinking coffees. When informed that

they cannot bring food or drinks into the museum, they wait in the lobby to finish their drinks, cheerfully

announcing that they will catch up to the group later. They ask where the bathroom is. During the tour,

the chaperones remain mostly silent. When students pose questions about their scavenger hunt

worksheets, the chaperones either provide the answer outright or suggest the student simply ask their

teacher. When it is time to leave the museum, the teacher collects the students' scavenger hunt

worksheets and loads the fourth graders back onto the school bus. Whether the students' museum

experiences are ever discussed again is unknown.

This scene, commonly observed at any museum on any day during the school year, can be a

frustrating one for museum educators. The students seem confused and anxious, the teacher appears

to be somewhat uncomfortable in the museum environment, and the chaperones are unclear about

their duties during the field trip. This scenario leads museum educators to examine why students,

teachers, and chaperones exhibit these troubling behaviors and what can be done to improve these

chaotic museum field trips. As a solution to many of these issues, I have produced a three-part field trip

guide for third, fourth, and fifth grade classes visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History. This three-

part model consists of pre-visit, visit, and post-visit phases, each including components intended to

connect the museum field trip experience to existing classroom curricula.

Much of the literature supports the notion that a three-part field trip method would be effective

in preventing many of these issues of the novelty of a new environment, chaperone confusion, and the

challenges accompanying teacher and chaperone led tours on museum field trips. Myers and Jones

champion the three-part field trip method and describe its three phases as working together to help

students make connections between "the focus of the field trip and the concepts they are learning in

class", which is what makes for a successful field trip experience.1 While the three-part field trip model

takes existing museum education and educational psychology theory into account, perhaps more

importantly, it does so in a practical and accessible way for museum staff, classroom teachers, and

chaperones. Everything necessary to create a three-part field trip guide can be produced in-house at

the museum, at a minimal cost, with little or no change to the existing educational philosophies and

practices of the museum. For these reasons, this three-part field trip model was the basis for the Florida

Museum of Natural History's Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People.


The first phase of the three-part field trip is the pre-visit phase, which occurs days or weeks

before the scheduled field trip. The pre-visit phase is vital to the success of a museum field trip as it

serves to familiarize teachers and students with the museum and the information they will encounter

1 B. Myers and L. Jones, "Successful Field Trips: A 3-Step Approach." Agricultural Education Magazine 76, no. 4 (2003): 26.


there. If students do not participate any pre-visit activities, they are more likely to experience anxiety

and hyperactivity as a result of being in a novel environment like a museum, making it more difficult for

them to focus and learn during their field trip. Researcher and museum evaluator, John Falk, attributes

chaotic student behavior to what he calls the "novel field trip phenomenon." This phenomenon refers

to students' feelings of anxiety or general discomfort associated with being in a novel setting, such as a

field trip site. Falk notes that in such a novel setting, "the [student] behaves differently... frequently

showing signs of emotional distress or impaired learning ability." Some specific behaviors generally

associated with the novel field trip phenomenon include increased or uncharacteristic activity and

excited exploratory actions.2

These hyperactive student behaviors exemplify classic exploratory behavior, which is described

as a "perceptual-motor examination of an object, event, or situation in order to reduce subjective

uncertainty, or, in other words, acquire information."3 There are two kinds of exploratory behavior:

specific and diversive. Students on a field trip are likely to engage in both types of exploration to varying

degrees. Specific exploration involves a student engaging one particular stimulus.4 In a museum, the

focus of specific exploration may be a certain exhibit or object. Diversive exploration refers to the

behaviors described by Falk's novel field trip phenomenon and is used to reduce the novelty or

uncertainty of an environment. Thus, in a museum context, this type of exploration would involve

students looking around an entire exhibit hall, or even the whole museum. As suggested by Falk in his

discussion of exploration, it is typical for students on a field trip to exhibit diversive exploratory behavior

before specific.5 Both diversive and specific exploration will increase linearly in relation to the amount

of novelty, meaning that the less familiar students are with their surroundings, the more apt they are to

2 J.H. Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon: Adjustment to Novel Settings Interferes with Task Learning," Journal of Research
in Science Teaching 15, no. 2 (1978): 127.
3 Ibid., 128.
4 C.A. Kubota and R.G. Olstad, "Effects of a Novelty-Reducing Preparation on Exploratory Behavior and Cognitive Learning in a
Science Museum Setting," ." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 28, no. 3 (1991): 226.
s Ibid.

want to explore it. Thus, pre-visit activities can be beneficial as they help to reduce the amount of

novelty and thus reduce students' need for diversive exploration.

Being in a novel environment evokes diversive exploration behavior, which will have a

tremendously negative effect on students' ability to learn because it is so distracting, making it difficult

for students to focus on the academic task at hand. Falk examined two groups of students on a field trip

to an old field.7 Though the groups were comparable in age, gender distribution and in-class academic

performance, one group of students lived in a rural area that is similar to the field trip site and the other

group lived in an urban area where fields and wooded areas are uncommon. During the course of the

field trip, the group of urban students, unfamiliar with this environment, spent much time engaged in

behaviors that were not related to the scheduled activity of the field trip.8 Observers of this urban

student group reported that the students were "rowdy, teasing, and not attentive to the task much of

the time." Yet, the same observers described the rural students as "orderly, attentive, and interested in

the task and the environment." Pretest and posttest assessments of both groups visiting the old field

indicate that the rural group, familiar with this type of environment, demonstrated some concept

learning whereas the urban group, experiencing anxiety and excitement due to the novelty of being in

an unfamiliar environment, "actually showed a slight decline from pretest to posttest, suggesting no

concept learning." Certainly, there are a number of factors that could have influenced both group's

behaviors and test results in relation to the field trip site. The explanation offered by Falk is that, for the

urban students who were not familiar with the environment, diversive exploration took precedence

over specific exploration, which then prevented the students from engaging in the structured learning

experience of the field trip. In other words, Falk proposes that the urban students were unable to focus

6 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 128
7 Though referenced multiple times throughout the article, Falk offers no specific definition for "old field".
8 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 128-132.

on the specific stimulus of the assignment because they were overwhelmed by the stimulus of the novel

environment around them.9

It is likely that every museum educator, docent, or visitor services representative has

encountered a group of students exhibiting diversive exploration behaviors similar to those Falk

describes. To many, these behaviors seem erratic and out of control, yet when observed in the context

of the novelty phenomenon, we begin to see that such behavior actually serves a purpose for the

students as an attempt to familiarize themselves with unfamiliar surroundings and stimuli. Knowing

this, we can then begin to structure field trips and their supplementary materials in such a way that they

address the students' need to explore and become familiar with and comfortable in a novel setting like a


The behavioral and learning problems associated with the novel field trip phenomenon can be

remedied by reducing environmental novelty and diversive exploration behaviors in students, thus the

pre-visit phase of a three-part field trip model is designed to serve this function. Occurring in the

classroom before the field trip, the pre-visit phase utilizes two main components: administration and

instruction.10 The administration component addresses the logistics of the field trip and uses resources

like museum maps and event schedules to familiarize students and teachers with the layout of the

museum and the schedule of events for the field trip. It is during this administration stage of the pre-

visit phase that Kubota and Olstad propose the use of vicarious exposure to help students bypass

diversive exploration and engage in more specific exploration, which lead to greater learning." True to

its name, vicarious exposure involves introducing students to a field trip site through auxiliary means

such as a website with a virtual tour, slideshow, book, photographs, or other media that would serve to

familiarize students with the physical characteristics and logistics of the field trip site. Students who

9 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 128.
10 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips",26.
11 Kubota and Olstad, "Effects of a Novelty-Reducing Preparation", 226.


experience vicarious exposure before a field trip exhibit less diversive exploration behavior and greater

on-task specific exploration, which results in more information gathering and cognitive learning or

information processing.12 Kubota and Olstad's work supports the importance of pre-visit planning.

Their examination of diversive and specific exploration gives teachers and museum educators the

information necessary to plan a field trip that is tailored to the students' psychological needs. Before

the trip, Kubota and Olstad's suggestions may be used by teachers to plan a student-centered

orientation that involves novelty-reducing preparation. Their emphasis on vicarious exposure to a field

trip site offers a very concrete method for reducing the novelty described by Falk.13 The function of this

administration component and the vicarious exposure techniques is to reduce students' anxiety and

"make students feel comfortable and safe at the location of the field trip just as they would in the

classroom."14 Connolly, Groome, Sheppard, and Stroud refer to this as a "student-centered

orientation", as it works to familiarize students will all of the practical aspects of their upcoming field

trip and therefore reduce anxiety and novelty during the trip.5i

The second half of the pre-visit phase focuses on instruction and is critical in preparing students

for learning during a field trip. Myers and Jones maintain that any pre-visit instruction should "focus on

the content topics and concepts that students will be investigating during the field trip."16 Cox-Peterson

and Pfaffinger agree that the educational value of the museum field trip depends greatly on the quality

of the students' preparation before visiting the museum and emphasize that those students who have

experienced pre-visit instruction learn more during their field trip.17 Griffin and Symington support

these claims with findings from a 1997 study that reveals a distinct pattern: "The schools... with the

most evidence of learning orientation were also those with school and museum topics that were

12 Ibid, 231.
13 Ibid, 226; Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 128-132.
14 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26.
15 R. Connolly et al., "Tips from the Field." The Science Teacher 73, no. 1 (2006): 43.
16 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26.
17 Cox A. Cox-Peterson and J. A. Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions at a Discovery Center of
Natural History," Journal of Elementary Science Education 10, no. 2 (1998): 21-22.


linked."18 In other words, students who engaged in pre-visit instruction were able to more easily make

connections between the museum content and the topics they are studying in the classroom. Cox-

Peterson and Pfaffinger discuss some trends, revealing that teachers frequently do not prepare students

for field trips and do not effectively connect the field trip topics to those being studied in the classroom.

Teachers then cite such reasons for not preparing their students as "I didn't want to distort their visit" or

"I didn't want them to have [prior knowledge about the museum]," even though these reasons

contradict the museum research extolling the benefits of novelty reducing preparation and vicarious


While it is important for students to be prepared for their field trip, it is also imperative that the

teachers be adequately prepared. According to Griffin and Symington, many teachers feel that they play

a minor role in the planning and execution of the field trip. Some teachers then fault the museum if

students have trouble making connections between classroom lessons and museum concepts,

commenting that the displays were not relevant enough to what they were learning at school.20 This

frustration can be assuaged by engaging in pre-visit activities that are relevant to both the classroom

curricula and the museum content. Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger underline the importance of teacher

preparation, noting that it can "increase the potential for cognitive and affective learning by planning

structured activities before and after field trips."21 Additionally, teachers may sometimes be unclear

about what their own roles should be while at the museum. Therefore, Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger

hold that "it is increasingly necessary... to inform teachers of their roles while visiting." Whether a

teacher will be leading their own museum tour, or relying on a docent, Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger

stress that it is a joint responsibility between teacher educators and museum educators to provide

18 J. Griffin and D. Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies on School Excursions to Museums,"
Science Education 81, no. 6 (1997): 772.
19 Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions", 26.
20 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 773.
21 Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions", 23.


teachers with pre-service and in-service education that includes field trips as part of the total school


Yet, the most glaring factor leading to ineffective teacher and student preparation is the lack of

information reaching the teachers regarding museum field trip planning and preparation. Cox-Peterson

and Pfaffinger observe that information relevant to preparing teachers and students for their museum

field trip is simply not reaching those who need it." Having adequate field trip preparation materials

would allow teachers to conduct more effective student-centered orientations, vicarious exposure

sessions, and activities specific to museum content. Having access to these materials would also help

teachers to prepare chaperones for the field trip. The students' parents and guardians who volunteer to

chaperone a museum field trip do not facilitate any pre-visit or post-visit activities, but they will have a

major role in leading students through the museum. Thus it is important for teachers to share any

preparatory materials they have with the chaperones who will be assisting with the museum field trip.

Sharing this information can help chaperones become familiar with the concepts that will be explored at

the museum, in addition to helping them be more aware of what their roles as tour leaders and

discussion facilitators will be at the museum.

This burden of effective dissemination of field trip preparation materials falls on the museum. It

is the museum's responsibility to provide field trip materials that are not only relevant and easy to use,

but also readily available and accessible to teachers. Thus, while some teachers may naturally be more

effective field trip leaders than others, many of the problems associated with teachers leading museum

field trips stem from museums' inability to provide teachers with the materials they need to create an

effective learning experience for their students.

22 Ibid., 31-32.
23 Ibid., 31.


The second phase of the three-part field trip model is the museum visit itself. Myers and Jones

suggest an agenda for this phase that begins with a short time for students to explore the museum on

their own, as an extended effort to reduce the novelty effect described by Falk.24 In doing so, students

will have time to indulge their urge for diversive exploration, which will later allow them to engage in

more specific exploration of the museum exhibits. Though the students' need for diversive exploration

should be significantly reduced by their participation in pre-visit activities, some groups of students who

are especially hyperactive or anxious about their museum visit may benefit from having additional time

to familiarize themselves with the museum.

After this time, students should break into smaller groups, led by chaperones or teachers, to

complete any learning activities.25 As it is difficult to fit and manage a large group of thirty or more

students in a small museum gallery, it is common practice to break students into small groups for most

of the field trip. In this arrangement, it is typical for parent chaperones to lead student groups through

the museum. The teacher may choose to also lead a group, or he or she may assign a chaperone to

every group and then float between all of the groups during their tours. In either case, chaperones are

responsible for leading the museum tours for most of the students. For this reason, the Discovery Guide

to Florida's Early Native People has been designed with both teachers and chaperones in mind, as they

share the same responsibilities during a museum field trip. The classroom teachers' and chaperones'

roles in helping students achieve cognitive learning on a field trip are large and there are great benefits

to teachers and chaperones guiding their own students in a museum, but there are also a number of


Griffin and Symington observe that student attitudes during a museum field trip reflect that of

their teachers. "If the teacher had a clearly defined purpose and an enthusiastic, positive attitude to the

24 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 27; Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 128.
25 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 34.

day, the students often reflected similar attitudes. If the teacher was bringing the class simply because

this was the class's allocated museum day, and the teacher had no clear goals or expectations, the

students' expectations and general behavior reflected this."26 This can be a very real challenge to

museum educators because students can get rambunctious if the teacher regards the museum field trip

as having little educational value and thus makes little effort to facilitate learning activities for students

throughout the visit. The teachers who hold such a negative attitude also tend to be those who did not

receive adequate preparation materials from the museum. These factors can also have an effect on the

chaperones who, like the students, will look to the teacher to set the tone of the field trip. If the teacher

has not received pre-visit materials, he or she will be unable to prepare the chaperones and give them

instructions or guidance for leading their student groups through the museum, which could also result in

chaos and an unproductive day at the museum.

One of the major advantages of teachers and chaperones leading students' museum tours is the

possibility for enhanced student learning. Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger observed that teacher guidance

in a museum provides "opportunities for students to experience a greater diversity of artifacts and

exhibit activities."27 Kisiel also underlines the benefit of teacher led tours, stating that greater teacher

presence on a field trip can increase the "strength and vividness of [students'] visit recollections."28

Thus teachers have the ability to not only reduce novelty through increased student preparation, but

also to increase learning during the field trip, and strengthen students' memories of the experience.

Chaperones do not have much of a presence in the pre-visit and post-visit phases, but when leading

students on a museum tour, they offer many of the same benefits as teachers. Much like teachers,

chaperones are able to provide guidance that encourages students to experience a variety of objects

and activities at the museum. The major difference between chaperones and teachers is that

26 J. Griffin and D. Symington. "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies on School Excursions to Museums,"
Science Education 81, no. 6 (1997): 774.
27 Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions", 22.
28 J.F. Kisiel, "An Examination of Fieldtrip Strategies and Their Implementation within a Natural History Museum." Science
Education 90 (2006): 435.

chaperones likely do not have the same type of training and content knowledge as elementary school

teachers. Thus, chaperones may need to rely more heavily on supplementary materials provided by the

museum, such as gallery guides, maps, or label text to help students identify the relevant information of

each gallery.

While there are some exceptional benefits to teacher- and chaperone-led museum tours, they

also face some significant challenges, such as balancing formal and informal education techniques,

working within strict time constraints, and the varied quality of interactions with students that can result

from such time constraints. A common problem faced by teachers when leading a museum field trip is

the challenge of attempting to use formal instruction methods in an informal learning environment like

a museum. While both formal and informal methods are used in schools, formal instruction is not

commonly used by museum educators. Formal instruction is more didactic and involves the

dissemination of objective facts. It is often more passive, requiring students to receive information

presented to them by an instructor. This method is more effective in communicating large amounts of

information to students. Informal education is more free-choice, allowing students to choose what

topics they want to learn about and how they want to engage those concepts. In a museum setting, this

involves students having the opportunity to explore the galleries with a degree of freedom, choosing

which objects and exhibits to observe. Informal museum education also lets students engage the

museum content in a variety of ways that may not include an instructional lecture or worksheet.

Kisiel notes that while teachers recognize the museum field trip as a valuable learning

experience, they may not know how to best use the museum and its resources to supplement their

classroom teaching.29 To this end, teachers often experience a conflict between wanting to lecture in

the museum, thus creating valuable connections to classroom learning, and wanting students to

29 J.F. Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets." Journal of Science Teacher Education 18 (2006): 30.


perceive the museum as a fun, informal place where they can learn on their own.3 Certainly, classroom

learning in third, fourth, and fifth grade does not rely solely on static lectures, delivered by the teacher.

Yet, it does involve a more formal delivery of specific facts via verbal communication from the teacher,

as well as reading for facts from textbooks, which represents a different educational approach than

what is typically used in museums. To this end, I agree with Kisiel's findings that teachers are not

ineffective field trip leaders. Instead, they are skilled at classroom instruction, with a command of the

content knowledge, but lack a way to communicate that content in an informal manner. Kisiel's

observations offer great support for the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People as the guide

provides teachers and chaperones with a script from which to work that guides them through facilitating

an informal learning experience for their students. Notably, such a pedagogical conflict is almost

nonexistent with tours led by chaperones. As most chaperones tend to be parent volunteers and not

teachers, they do not have an existing method of teaching that would need to be amended in the

museum setting, which may allow chaperones to be more open to an informal method of museum

interpretation, like that presented in the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People. This does not

mean that chaperones are better at leading museum tours than teachers, but simply that they do not

experience the same conflict between teaching methods that many teachers face.

In both the museum and classroom, time limitations greatly affect the quality of instruction and

learning. Museum field trips are subject to strict time constraints as the entire field trip must fit within a

set block of time that is influenced by a number of external factors including school bus availability, the

school's daily schedule, and commuting between school and the museum. As a result, teachers,

students, and chaperones are left with a very short amount of time to actually tour the museum. This

issue is often exacerbated by teachers attempting to use classroom teaching methods, as observed by

Kisiel. When time at the museum is running out, teacher interactions tend to become more directed

30 Kisiel, "An Examination of Fieldtrip Strategies", 446.

and similar to classroom instruction, as a way to "cover" more museum content in a shorter time.

However, this strategy is not effective in an informal learning environment because it does not allow

students to interact with the exhibits.31

While at the museum, teacher interactions with students may vary greatly in time and quality.

Griffin and Symington have observed that, during field trips, some teachers "[appear] to abandon what

might generally be considered basic good class management practices. In particular, there was little

variation in teaching or learning strategies and little attention was paid to the physical comfort of the

students."32 Similarly, Kisiel discusses observations that teacher involvement can range from actively

working with small groups of students, "to monitoring student behavior, to leaving students to fend for


Kisiel offers two suggestions for improving the quality of teacher and chaperone led museum

tours. The first is to improve communication between classroom teachers and museum educators. To

this end, Kisiel proposes that museum and teacher educators "consider how they might build on the

types of strategies that teachers are already likely to do." A concrete manifestation of this may mean

providing written chaperone guides that support teachers' supervision strategies or education materials

that include mechanisms encouraging effective connecting of museum content to classroom lessons.

Kisiel is quick to note that these suggestions do not require any significant modification of the museum

setting. Instead, these proposals "[highlight] the existing organization of the institution in a way that is

more useful for teachers."3 The second suggestion has been discussed in the pre-visit section but

remains important; the improved distribution of field trip planning materials to schools and teachers is

also mentioned by Kisiel as a means for improving the quality of teacher-led tours. Simply put, the more

teachers are able to prepare for the field trip, the better their field trip will be. To this end, it would be

31 Ibid.
32 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 773.
33 Kisiel, "An Examination of Fieldtrip Strategies", 435.
34 Ibid., 446-448.

beneficial for teachers to share any pre-visit materials with the chaperones before the field trip. Thus,

not only will the teachers be well prepared, but the chaperones will have a better understanding of the

museum and its content, as well as their roles as facilitators and group leaders during the field trip. The

easiest way to ensure that teachers and chaperones are well prepared is to provide them with adequate

provisionary materials that are specific to the museum content and logistics.

During the museum tour and activities, Myers and Jones suggest that teachers utilize different

teaching techniques than those used in their classrooms and act "more as facilitators or guides rather

than directors."35 Connolly, Groome, Sheppard and Stroud then propose some methods for ensuring

that the field trip is truly an informal learning experience, different from formal classroom instruction.

They suggest approaching the field trip in a very literal sense as "a trip into the field", where students

have the opportunity "to connect the question-asking to the question-answering, exposing the process

of "doing science" as not just learning scientific facts." This type of experience is created by using open-

ended questions that require more than a single word or number as an answer, with no answer

necessarily more correct than another. 36 The use of inquiry-based activities and open-ended questions

creates an informal learning atmosphere that is different from, yet complements, classroom learning,

which utilizes more didactic interactions than a museum.


The third and final phase of the three-part method is the post-visit phase, which takes place

back in the classroom, as soon after the museum field trip as possible. It has been noted that teachers'

instruction methods at the museum vary, and so does the quality of their classroom follow-up activities.

Indeed, most teachers express an intention to follow up the field trip experience in some way. Yet, most

of this follow-up is in the form of a semi-structured discussion or an independent journaling activity.

35 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 27.
36 Connolly et al., "Tips from the Field", 43-44.

Only a very small percentage of teachers express any intent to conduct further classroom lessons, which

would delve deeper into the subject matter their students engaged at the museum.37 Myers and Jones

describe a successful post-visit phase as including a debriefing session and a culminating activity.

A debriefing session is generally a semi-structured group discussion, during which students may

share their experiences from the field trip. The debriefing session is an important tool used to solidify

students' memories of the museum visit and should happen as quickly as possible after the field trip.

Some teachers conduct this discussion in the lobby of the museum, before leaving, or on the bus,

heading back to school. Discussion during the debriefing session might address the results of any

activities completed at the museum, students' feelings about the trip, and their overall impressions of

the museum. The debriefing session is also the chance for students to share any criticisms they may

have or problems they encountered at the museum.38

A culminating activity is usually more structured than the debriefing discussion and is often a

graded activity. Completing a culminating activity gives students the "opportunity to apply the content

knowledge they gained" during their museum field trip. The ultimate goal of the culminating activity is

to help students make connections between the classroom curricula and the information they

encountered at the museum.39 Research suggests that learning is a generative process that requires

students to construct their own meaning.40 Falk and Dierking note that "much of what an individual

comes to discover about what he or she "learned" in a museum only becomes apparent weeks, months,

or even years after the experience."41 Thus the post-visit phase is a vital component of the field trip

experience as it utilizes content-specific activities to prevent decay or interference of students'

37 Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions", 26.
38 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 27.
39 Ibid.
40 J.H. Falk and L.M. Adelman. "Investigating the Impact of Prior Knowledge and Interest in Aquarium Visitor Learning." Journal
of Research in Science Teaching 40, no. 2 (2003): 164.
41 J.H. Falk and L.D. Dierking. "School Field Trips: Assessing their Long-Term Impact." Curator: The Museum Journal 40, no. 3
(1997): 212.

memories.42 This especially supports the importance of the culminating activity, as Falk and Dierking

specify that memories alone, like those discussed in the debriefing session, are not sufficient evidence of

learning. They posit that learning must involve the use of these memories to solve problems or connect

ideas, which is what the culminating activity serves to do.43

The literature examined in this chapter offers insight into the behaviors the students, teachers,

and chaperones exhibited in the introductory scenario. Falk presents the novel field trip phenomenon

as the reason for the hyperactive and anxious behavior often observed in students on field trips.44

Studies by Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, Griffin and Symington, and Kisiel outline many challenges

teachers face when leading their students on a museum field trip.45 Recognizing these challenges

contributes to understanding the confusion and anxiety that many teachers experience in the informal

learning environment of a museum. Myers and Jones and Connolly, Groome, Sheppard and Stroud

present some concrete suggestions to help teachers and chaperones successfully facilitate an informal

learning experience for their students at the museum.46

All of the theories proposed in the literature can be organized into a usable structure within the

three-part field trip model as exemplified in the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People. The

pre-visit activities and student-centered orientation addresses both Falk's and Kubota and Olstad's

urgings to prepare students for the distracting and overwhelming stimuli of a new environment, like a

museum.47 The second portion of the model, the museum visit, is structured to help teachers and

chaperones more easily guide students through an informal learning experience at the museum. Finally,

the third portion of this model, the post-visit, helps connect the students' experiences at the museum to

42 D. Knapp, "Memorable Experiences of a Science Field Trip." School Science and Mathematics 100, no. 2 (2000): 65.
43 Falk and Dierking, "School Field Trips: Assessing their Long-Term Impact", 212.
44 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 127-134.
45 Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions" 20-35; Griffin and Symington, "Moving
from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 763-779; Kisiel, "An Examination of Fieldtrip Strategies", 434-452.
46 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26-27; Connolly et al., "Tips from the Field", 46-48.
47 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 127-134; Kubota and Olstad, "Effects of a Novelty Reducing Preparation", 225-234.


the existing classroom curriculum and prevent the field trip from taking on the feel of a one-shot "free

day" from learning (or teaching).

A field trip guide based on the theories of Falk, Kubota and Olstad, Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger,

and Kisiel and presented in the three-part model endorsed by Myers and Jones provides the best

possible field trip archetype for teachers and students as it utilizes theory from the informal learning

field to create an experience that fully prepares teachers and students for all aspects of the museum

environment, reduces novelty, and increases student learning.4 Such a guide is also capable of easing

the psychological stress of the students, guiding teachers and chaperones through an effective

interpretation of each gallery, and creating connections to classroom learning. As a result, I believe it is

important for museum educators to not only become familiar with the stressors affecting teachers,

students, and chaperones on museum field trips, but also with the three-part model that will assuage it.

The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People embraces all of these theories and implements

them via the three-part field trip method.

48 Falk, "The Novel Field trip Phenomenon", 127-134; Kubota and Olstad, "Effects of a Novelty Reducing Preparation", 225-234;
Cox-Peterson and Pfaffinger, "Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Student Interactions" 20-35; Kisiel, "An Examination of Fieldtrip
Strategies", 434-452; Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26-27.


Embracing Myers and Jones' proposal that successful field trips consist of three-parts, the

Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People includes of a set of pre-visit classroom activities, a

Discovery Guide for use during the museum field trip, and a set of post-visit classroom activities.49 The

Discovery Guide is intended for use by teachers or chaperones leading small groups of students through

the Florida Museum of Natural History. The Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) is the state's

official natural history museum. Located on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville,

Florida, the museum hosts a large number of school field trips, especially third, fourth, and fifth grade

classes studying Florida history.

Using the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People with third, fourth, or fifth grade

students will lead to a rewarding social studies field trip at the FLMNH. Griffin and Symington cite the

features of a successful group visit to a museum as: planning for learning during the visit, sparing or

careful use of worksheets, considering the unique learning opportunities rather than mirroring school

type-behaviors, emphasis on first-hand experience and observation, and variation of the activities

during the visit.50 This guide addresses each feature. The Discovery Guide plans for learning by utilizing

a concept-oriented format that focuses on the big ideas of each gallery, rather than the list of tasks so

often found within more traditional, survey-style worksheets. Griffin and Symington's suggestion for

the sparing use of worksheets is immediately addressed as students never even see the Discovery Guide

that the chaperones and teachers use to facilitate the museum experience. This demonstrates a

"sparing use" of worksheets because, while a guide sheet does exist, and the chaperone does work from

it to lead discussions and make points throughout the galleries, the students are not burdened with

carrying clipboards, or working through a written activity on a worksheet. The unique education

opportunities at the museum are fully realized by encouraging an informal style of learning and

49 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26.
50 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.


interpretation, providing prompts to help chaperones and teachers facilitate discussion and student

exploration. Of course, the most unique quality of a museum is its collection of authentic objects. With

this guide, emphasis is placed on students observing and discussing museum objects as primary sources

of information about Florida's early inhabitants. Finally, the activities throughout the guide are varied to

include multiple learning contexts and allow students to discuss, draw, explain, work in groups, observe,

or write in the galleries to engage the museum content in ways that will be beneficial to students of all

learning styles.

While the Discovery Guide is an important component for learning during the field trip, the

classroom activities completed before and after the museum visit supplement any materials used during

the trip. These pre-visit and post-visit activities are imperative to providing students with a foundation

for, and review of, their museum visit, thus creating a long-lasting learning experience. The

accompanying pre- and post-visit materials are intended for use by the classroom teachers to create

connections between classroom curricula and the museum's content. By providing the activities and

materials necessary for chaperones to lead effective museum tours and for teachers to facilitate

meaningful classroom activities, this field trip guide is accessible and easy to use for teachers and

chaperones. The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People and its accompanying classroom

activities have been carefully designed to incorporate relevant informal learning theory, firsthand

experience and comments from teachers, and the current Sunshine State Standards. The combination

of these elements has created a field trip guide that will provide students with a unique and engaging

museum field trip that will reinforce connections to classroom content, inspire further research projects,

and last in their memories for years.

Pre-Visit Activities

The pre-visit activities that accompany the Discovery Guide fit into the instruction component of

the pre-visit phase and provide the content background necessary for students to have a more

meaningful learning experience during their field trip to the museum. Specifically, these pre-visit

activities focus on the concept of timelines. Timelines are found within Florida's Sunshine State

Standards beginning in kindergarten and are emphasized throughout the elementary grades. Florida's

Sunshine State Standards are a set of benchmarks describing the specific content and skills that students

are expected to learn at each grade level. Six Sunshine State Standards focus on timelines between the

third, fourth, and fifth grades-all six of which are addressed in the pre-visit activities.51 Many

museums, including the FLMNH are organized along a timeline, illustrating a chronological or linear

order to the world. However, chronology can be a somewhat abstract concept and may prove difficult

for students to fully understand, particularly in the lower elementary grades. While the museum makes

consistent use of a timeline concept, there is only one timeline illustration within the Early Native

People galleries, which can be found in the Apalachicola River of Trade gallery. Therefore, to orient

students to this important but intangible concept that they will encounter at the museum, three

activities have been provided: A Classroom Timeline, Personal Timelines, and a Historical Timeline.

Based on the appropriate benchmarks of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, the Classroom

Timeline and Personal Timeline activities are oriented toward lower elementary students (third grade)

while the Historical Timeline is intended for slightly older students (fourth and fifth grade).

The Classroom Timeline involves the creation of one timeline, constructed continually for the

duration of the school year to reflect important events throughout the year. At the end of each week

during the school year, students will be asked to discuss the important events of the week, whether it

was a classmate's birthday, a school sporting event, or a field trip, and then place a marker of each

51 Florida Department of Education. "Standards and Access Points in Document Format." CPALMS Florida Standards. Florida
Department of Education. n.d. (accessed November 17, 2011).


event on the Classroom Timeline.52 This method allows students to observe a dynamic timeline as it

evolves each week to include new events. The activity is intentionally simple and acts as an introduction

to the chronological concept as it is used by historians. The Personal Timeline activity allows students to

create their own individual, autobiographical timelines. This activity asks students to create a timeline

that tells the story of their lives from their birth to the present day. Creating an autobiographical

timeline encourages students to engage the concept of regular increments of time as they measure out

uniform spaces representing years or months and place their life events in chronological order along

that line. Finally, the Historical Timeline places historical events in a larger context for students to

observe. This activity involves the placement of world events or events specific to Florida history on a

timeline made of string that will stretch the length of a hallway to illustrate the passage of time between

events. The visual impact of this activity lies in the great distance of time (or string) between the first

evidence of people in Florida to European contact and then to more recent and relatable events such as

the students' birth years. For older students who are already familiar with the concept of a timeline,

this activity frames the objects and historical concepts they will encounter while at the museum.

Museum Visit

The true crux of this project is the Discovery Guide, which is used during the class' time at the

museum. The Discovery Guide is not a typical field trip worksheet, but rather it is a six page guide to the

Florida's Early Native People galleries at the FLMNH. And although the guide is written to provide a

script for chaperones and teachers, it is constructed to be student-centered, addressing some anxieties

and frustrations students have expressed about traditional worksheets. Griffin and Symington note that

"when asked about worksheets, most students said they did not like them, as they restricted what they

saw, and they were boring. In answer to questions about what they would rather do, most students said

52 See Appendix, Page 8.

they would prefer to look around without sheets". Griffin and Symington also found that students feel

pressure to complete their worksheets before leaving the museum, which can, in many cases,

discourage students from exploring other exhibits or exercising any kind of free choice learning within

the museum.53 Students' distaste for traditional worksheets is not unfounded, as it has been suggested

that such worksheets may actually impede student learning "by inhibiting true observation, preventing

students from formulating their own questions, and causing students to focus on the narrowly described

task to the exclusion of broader questions".54

These types of negative student reactions are common with traditional, survey-oriented

worksheets, which is why the Discovery Guide produced for the FLMNH is concept-oriented and

supported by Griffin and Symington's notion that successful field trips plan for learning, rather than

tasks.55 More traditional, survey-oriented worksheets tend to have a greater number of questions

(many of which utilize lower-order thinking and simply ask students to gather and recite facts or carry

out repetitive tasks) which allows for less time in each gallery and less time to consider each question.

The answers to these questions are usually objective and often found within the label text.5 This type

of activity is less desirable because it does not require the student to utilize any critical thinking skills. In

contrast, concept-oriented worksheets tend to have fewer questions overall, thus allowing students to

spend more time engaging each question. The questions tend to be broad, sometimes to the point that

they are answerable in other informal learning settings, such as a zoo or nature center. Concept-

oriented worksheets are also more likely to include higher-order questions which require students to

"manipulate information and ideas in ways that transform their meaning and implications" and allow for

53 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 773.
54 Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 30.
55 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.
56 Queensland Government, "Higher-Order Thinking." Department of Education and Training. 2004. (accessed January 2012); Kisiel,
"Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 30.


more student choice within the museum.57 Finally, the responses to these questions come not from the

label text, but from the observation of objects. Based on these characteristics, a concept-based

worksheet seems more likely to yield greater learning.58

Despite the advantages of using a concept-oriented guide, most teachers prefer to use survey-

oriented worksheets while on a museum field trip. Teachers cite task density (or the "depth, breadth,

length, or complexity of the worksheet"), a desire to keep order, and similarity to classroom work as

reasons for their preference. The majority of teachers who prefer the survey-oriented worksheets

named task density as the most important factor in their decision.59 A task-dense worksheet may be

attractive to teachers who feel that a worksheet with fewer questions is not challenging enough and will

not keep students engaged for the duration of the field trip. Teachers also like survey-oriented

worksheets because they believe busywork keeps order and thus promotes logistical ease while away

from the classroom. Some teachers believe that a greater number of questions to complete will keep

students "under control" and "on task" while at the museum. Finally, when selecting the survey-

oriented worksheet, a number of teachers referred to "concerns about breadth over depth and student

interests and ability levels when planning and conducting a visit to a... museum", which indicates that

some teachers, like many of their students, may have trouble adjusting to the novel environment of the

museum.60 An important distinction to be made here is that the chief aim of museum education is not to

instruct, but to provoke.61 At the museum, it is not necessary to scan the object labels and cover a huge

breadth of information via worksheet. Instead, it is acceptable and effective to engage students in three

or four deep discussions in the galleries. Still, many teachers attempt to carry out classroom teaching

techniques (survey-oriented) in a setting that calls for a much more informal (concept-oriented)

s7 Queensland Government, "Higher Order Thinking".
58 Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 31.
59 Ibid., 33-36.
60 Ibid., 39-41.
61 Tilden, F. Interpreting Our Heritage. 5th ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008: xxx


method.62 This is not to suggest that teachers do not make use of higher-level teaching strategies in the

classroom. More traditional teaching methods involving textbooks and verbal fact delivery include a

great deal of high-level thinking and information processing, but it takes more time to develop and that

time is available in the classroom but not on a field trip. Using those same text- and research-heavy

teaching strategies, which result in high-level thinking in the classroom, do not translate well when

compressed into to a one-page museum worksheet and can thus end up using more lower-level


Based on Kisiel's observations, it seems that teachers would benefit from becoming more aware

of and comfortable with the informal learning environment of the museum if their students are to have

an in-depth and meaningful learning experience during their museum field trip. To this end, on April 20,

2011, an in-service teacher workshop was held at the Florida Museum of Natural History to familiarize

teachers with the Early Native People galleries, the Discovery Guide and its classroom activities.

Teachers were lead on a tour of the galleries, using the Discovery Guide as it would be used by

chaperones and teachers on a typical field trip. The participating teachers were also guided through the

classroom activities suggested for both pre-visit and post-visit class periods. During this time, teachers

completed each activity as it would be done in the classroom and I fielded questions and suggestions for

improvement for the activities. In general, the teachers were receptive to the Discovery Guide and the

activities. They offered very little criticism, the whole of which pertained to the Historical Timeline pre-

visit activity. The teachers' suggestions for improving this activity will be discussed further in Chapter

Three. Teachers at the workshop were also briefed about the ways in which the Discovery Guide

content and classroom activities address Florida's Sunshine State Standards for social studies in the

third, fourth, and fifth grades.63

62 Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 41.
63 Florida Department of Education, "Standards and Access Points in Document Format."


The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People is not a traditional museum field trip

worksheet. In fact, it is not a worksheet at all. The Discovery Guide is worded for field trip chaperones

and teachers and is not meant to be used by students. Griffin and Symington advise that successful

museum field trips make "sparing use of worksheets". Thus, in designing the Discovery Guide, I heeded

their recommendation and took the worksheet away from the student and gave it to the chaperone.64

Thus it is the chaperones who are responsible for facilitating this concept-oriented tour.

Like many museums, most of the FLMNH tours for school groups or the general public, are led

by volunteer docents. While the docents at are exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled in museum

interpretation, there are, unfortunately, not always enough of them in the museum every day to attend

to every single school group. When docents are not available to lead tours for school groups, it is

common practice for the teacher to break his or her class of 30 or so students into smaller groups to be

led through the museum by chaperones. As a result, the students are not only missing out on a docent-

led tour, they are also missing out on a tour led by their own teacher. Usually, there is one chaperone

for every ten students on the field trip. A typical chaperone on a museum field trip is a parent or

guardian of a student on the trip, who has volunteered to accompany the class's outing. It is perhaps

reasonably safe to assert that most chaperones do not arrive at the museum expecting to be the one

leading the museum tour. As a result, chaperones are often ill-equipped to lead such a tour, so the

chaos and distracting diversive exploratory behavior described by Falk and Kisiel, can continue for the

duration of the trip and prevent the students from learning much-if anything-from the exhibits.

The first page of the Discovery Guide briefly introduces chaperones to the museum and the

galleries by explaining the theme of the guide, naming and describing all six Early Native People galleries

included on the tour, and providing an estimate of how much time should be spent in each gallery. It

also provides some basic instructions and suggestions, such as, "Each group [of students with a

6Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.


chaperone] should start in a different gallery to avoid congestion".6 This information is followed by a

page with a museum map that also includes a welcome note specifically for chaperones, detailing their

role at the museum as a discussion facilitator. Because chaperones will be using the Discovery Guide to

lead students through the museum, some tips to help them direct discussions have been provided, such

as, "Encourage students to give thoughtful and original answers" and "You can also help students find

answers to their own questions by reading exhibit labels and talking with Museum staff". 66 Continuing

throughout the text of the Discovery Guide, chaperones are provided with prompts, questions to ask of

the students, suggestions for objects to highlight, and, of course, basic content information for each

gallery that will allow chaperones to answer the questions posed within the guide.67 This serves Kisiel's

suggestion that if chaperones are expected to lead an activity or field trip, they need to be clear on their

roles as well as prepared to lead discussions and answer questions.68

As specified by Griffin and Symington, the most successful museum field trips take full

advantage of the unique informal learning opportunities at the museum and discourage the posing of

objective or closed-ended questions.69 To help chaperones and teachers accomplish this, the prompts

within the Discovery Guide are worded to help facilitate meaningful discussions. For example, the

prompt, "Observe the diorama of a Calusa fishing village. Ask students to describe what they see and

discuss what they think is happening." requires no definitive answer, thus providing an outlet for

student speculation and open-ended discussion. In this way, the Discovery Guide is designed to be an

easy way for chaperones to guide students toward a learning experience centered on critical thinking.

To facilitate meaningful learning, the Discovery Guide uses the concept-oriented model of

employing a few broad, higher-order questions with more subjective responses that students can

formulate by observing museum objects. In the Discovery Guide, each gallery is put into context by one

6s See Appendix, Page 2.
66 See Appendix, Page 4.
6J.F. Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 31.
68 J.F. Kisiel, "Making Field Trips Work." The Science Teacher 73, no. 1 (2006): 47.
69 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.


broad statement, identifying the big idea of the gallery. The statement used to frame the Fishing

Heritage gallery is, "People have lived along the Gulf coast of Florida and utilized its natural resources

for more than 6,000 years."70 Then, three to five questions or prompts related to the big idea are

provided, and should be delivered verbally by the chaperone or teacher. These questions are broad and

could even be answered in a different setting. For example, the question, "Why do you think the Calusa

made their homes in the estuaries?" could be engaged by students in any setting that addresses the

topic of estuaries, such as a nature center, aquarium, or even an actual estuary, allowing students to

more easily see connections between concepts.

The Discovery Guide focuses on higher-order questions as much as possible, while still

remaining developmentally appropriate for the range of ages in the third, fourth, and fifth grades that

will be using the guide. When the chaperones pose such questions as, "A midden is a trash pile that the

Calusa often used as a support for their homes. What can a midden tell us about the Calusa?", students

are invited to engage in higher-order critical thinking to propose their responses. These questions invite

multiple subjective responses rather than one objectively correct answer. Open-ended questions like

these support inquiry and exploration behaviors in students.71

Observation of museum objects is also emphasized throughout the Discovery Guide. Not only

do Griffin and Symington cite this as an important feature of a successful museum field trip, but

children, especially this guide's target audience of third through fifth grade students, place a high value

on object authenticity in a museum setting.72 Accordingly, the prompts in the Discovery Guide allow

time for students to carefully observe the real objects on display in the museum. Some prompts

encourage students to consider the objects for their material components or cultural significance, as is

specified in the Calusa Leader's House gallery, where chaperones will urge students to "Observe the

70 See Appendix, Page 7.
71 Connolly et al., "Tips from the Field.", 45.
72 A. Gazi, "Exhibiting the Past to Children." In Telling Children about the Past: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, ed. N. Galanadou
and L.H. Dommasnes (Ann Arbor: International Monographs in Prehistory, 2007), 203-225; Griffin and Symington, "Moving from
Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.

jewelry and decorations the people in this scene are wearing" and then ask them to hypothesize, "From

what materials... these decorations [are] made and where... they come from."73 Others invite students

to simply observe or draw the objects they find most interesting, giving them the opportunity to hone

their observation skills, as suggested by Kisiel.4 This method of object observation lets students engage

in free choice learning by allowing them to select the object of focus based on their own interests. It

also gives students a chance to use the museum as a typical visitor (independent of a school group)

might and highlights the museum setting as an informal learning environment that offers unique

experiences not available in the classroom.

There is much emphasis, throughout Florida's Sunshine State Standards, on the distinction

between primary and secondary sources. The Discovery guide helps highlight this distinction by having

chaperones ask students "Are the artifacts in this gallery primary or secondary sources?"75 In the gallery

featuring Today's South Florida Indian People, students are challenged to find primary sources that are

not physical objects, including transcripts of European documents and audio or video recordings of

interviews with modern Indian people in south Florida.76 These resources may not be considered

"objects" but they certainly encourage students to gather information by means other than reading


Finally, as advocated by Griffin and Symington, this Discovery Guide takes advantage of the

distinctive learning environment of the museum by utilizing a variety of different activities within the

galleries, which is beneficial to students who respond to different learning styles.77 Some students learn

better when they explain a new concept to someone else, while others learn best through quiet

observation and reflection. The prompts read by the chaperones encourage students to "observe",

"describe", "explain to a partner", "find", "explore", "draw", and "compare" things in each gallery.

73 See Appendix, Page 6.
74 Kisiel, "Examining Teacher Choices for Science Museum Worksheets", 30.
75 See Appendix, Page 6.
76 See Appendix, Page 7.
77 Griffin and Symington, "Moving from Task-Oriented to Learning-Oriented Strategies", 765.


Allowing students to consume the museum content in such a variety of ways emphasizes the informality

of the museum as a learning environment and portrays it as a place where children can be comfortable

and learn in a way that works for them.

The methods of gallery exploration utilized in the Discovery Guide will prevent students from

rushing from one exhibit to the next, searching for specific answers to worksheet questions or worse,

copying answers from one another without ever viewing the exhibits. With all of the above mentioned

qualities, this guide is designed to encourage students to think critically and discuss amongst themselves

the concepts and ideas pertaining to Florida's early native people.

Post-Visit Activities

To complete the museum field trip experience, The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native

People includes materials for both the debriefing session and culminating activity portions of the post-

visit phase. The debriefing session does not need much material support, as it is simply a group

discussion, allowing students to reflect on their experiences at the museum. Still, a few prompts have

been provided that may be used to spur the discussion during a debriefing session. Such prompts

include, "Discuss the kinds or artifacts we leave behind and what they may tell future archaeologists

about our society." or "Imagine you are a Calusa child living in a fishing village. Describe a typical day

for you."78

The post-visit activities included in this project act as the culminating activity as they ask

students to use content directly from the Florida Museum of Natural History's Early Native People

galleries to work through the assignments. Two post-visit activities are included: a Mapping Activity and

a Comparison Table. As a culminating activity, the Mapping Activity brings the focus of the museum

visit back to Florida state history by having students connect past and present native cultures in Florida.

78 See Appendix, Page 3.

As students draw on a Florida map to create overlays of the territories of the now extinct Calusa and

Fort Walton cultures with the locations of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes that remain active in

Florida today, this activity reinforces some geographical information as well as the effects of European

contact with Florida's native people. Comparing the large expanses of land that the Calusa and Fort

Walton cultures used to control to the small dots on the map representing the current Seminole and

Miccosukee reservations drives home the reality that European contact wiped out much of Florida's

Native American population. This activity also connects back to the information in the gallery featuring

South Florida's Native American Legacy, which cites European contact as a factor leading to the

disappearance of the Calusa.

The Comparison Table activity may also be used as a catalyst for a debriefing discussion as some

of the prompts are open-ended and may have multiple answers. For this activity, students will work in

groups to complete a table comparing the region, environment, subsistence, and disappearance (if

applicable) of each native tribe discussed at the museum. Students are also asked to recall an object

and a fact from each gallery that they found especially interesting. This further encourages students to

connect museum objects and content to classroom lessons as they are asked to describe authentic

museum objects that belong to the Native American cultures they are studying in the classroom Once

complete, this activity forms a chart that acts as a vehicle to help students compare and contrast the

cultural, geographical, and historical features of Florida's Native American cultures. This activity

addresses nine different Sunshine State Standards, three of which specifically stress comparing Florida's

Native American tribes, both past and present.


While the Florida Museum of Natural History's Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People

and its accompanying activities are complete and usable, there some areas that could be expanded and

some changes that should be considered. Based on teachers' comments from the in-service teacher

workshop held at the FLMNH, the most changes would be made to the pre-visit activities. In the

Discovery Guide, I am pleased with the prompts and their ability to incite critical thinking. To that

section, I would only add some vocabulary definitions and one or two more opportunities for students

to engage in group work. However, some changes to the overall structure of the guide have been

suggested to increase its ease of use by chaperones. Finally, in the post-visit phase, the addition of one

another activity, as well as a greater diversity of activities would serve to round out the museum field

trip experience nicely.

In the pre-visit phase, it would be beneficial to include some additional language regarding the

chaperone's role at the museum. The more information that can be provided to chaperones prior to

their arrival at the museum, the more comfortable they will feel when leading students through the

galleries. This would be very similar to the information provided to teachers before the field trip, but it

is equally important to make this information available to the chaperones, given their large role in

facilitating the museum tours. To this end, I think one separate sheet should be created by the museum

and included in the guide that discusses, not only how to use the Discovery Guide, but what the

chaperones can expect throughout the day in terms of scheduling and other logistics. This document

would serve the function of an orientation for chaperones.

Still there remains the question of how to ensure that chaperones receive and review their field

trip materials before arriving at the museum. Parent chaperones will be more effective discussion

leaders during the field trip if they have the opportunity to review the Discovery Guide before the trip,

but even if teachers send this information out to the chaperones well before the scheduled trip, there is

no guarantee that every chaperone will read it. To this end, it may be advisable to include a section for

chaperones to return to the teachers once they have reviewed the Discovery Guide that states, "I agree

to chaperone my student's field trip to the Florida Museum of Natural history. I have reviewed the

Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People and understand my role as a discussion facilitator as it

has been described on page 4 of the guide." This type of addendum may help to ensure that

chaperones feel more comfortable with the materials before arriving at the museum. Seeing the

Discovery Guide before the museum visit also gives potential chaperones a chance to determine if they

are able to fulfill their role as outlined in the guide, and perhaps relinquish their responsibilities if they

feel unable or unwilling to carry out the duties of a chaperone on this particular field trip.

Based on Myers and Jones' emphasis on the importance of the administration stage of the pre-

visit phase and Kubota and Olstad's research recommending vicarious exposure before a museum visit,

it would also be advisable to include some more specific guidelines for teachers to create a student-

centered orientation that utilizes vicarious exposure to the museum during the pre-visit phase.79 The

pre-visit activities accompanying the Discovery Guide focus on museum content and are vital to help

students make connections between classroom lessons and the museum exhibits, but these activities do

little to familiarize students with the museum setting itself. It would be fairly easy for the FLMNH to

assemble a vicarious exposure kit that could be distributed in the same manner as the Discovery Guide

and activities. This kit should include links to the Florida Museum of Natural History website, photos of

the galleries, dining areas, classrooms and gift shop, and a schedule template for teachers to complete

and share with their class so that students are also privy to the day's event schedule. A kit like this, in

the form of a PDF document or hard copy, attached to the Discovery Guide, would do much to eliminate

students' questions and anxieties about what is at the museum, what they will do when they get there,

and even simple things like when they will have time to use the restrooms.

79 Myers and Jones, "Successful Field Trips", 26-27; Kubota and Olstad, "Effects of a Novelty-Reducing Preparation", 231.


Also included in this vicarious exposure kit, should be a note to teachers suggesting that, when

planning their schedule, they include a short time at the beginning of the museum visit for students to

browse the museum in small groups before the tour begins. If the pre-visit activities and orientation

were not enough to familiarize students with the museum, or if the class is particularly excitable, this

time slot would alleviate much of the anxiety associated with students' need for diversive exploration.

Allowing five to ten minutes for students to react to the giant mammoth skeleton in the lobby, look

through the windows at the Butterfly Rainforest, or start inspecting the treasures in the gift shop frees

their minds from wondering what the rest of the museum is like so that they may engage in the more

productive specific exploration during the tour that leads to greater learning. Of course, field trip time is

precious and many teachers may be reluctant or unable to devote time to students' diversive

explorations. However, I believe that sparing these few minutes at the beginning of the visit, sets the

stage for a calmer, more productive, and more efficient museum visit overall.

Originally, the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People was slated to include a pre-visit

activity that introduced museums and their functions. Essentially, this activity would answer the

question for students, "What is a museum?" Such an activity would include discussion questions about

a museum's function as a collecting institution, engaging students with questions like, "Do you collect

anything. If so, what?" and "How do you decide what to collect?" These questions would allow

students to identify with the museum on a more personal level as they compare their own collections to

that of the museum. If a student in the class collects seashells, perhaps he or she would be especially

interested in the Fishing Heritage exhibit at the FLMNH, as it includes samples of seashells found at

Calusa midden sites that provide a wealth of information about the Calusa lifestyle. It is also important

for these discussions to address more basic museum concepts, for instance, "Have you ever been to a

museum?" or "What are the different types of museums?" and "Compare and contrast the different

types of museums." These types of questions would give students the opportunity to discuss any

previous museum experiences and begin to more fully understand the content and scope of the natural

history museum they will soon be visiting. Other parts of this pre-visit activity may discuss the people

who work at a museum by posing such questions as, "What is a docent and what do they do?" or "What

is a curator/archaeologist/paleontologist?". Familiarizing students with these terms may help them to

understand where museums get their information, and how they pass this information on to visitors.

Any of these discussion questions could be supplemented by activities that invite students to bring their

personal collection to class and display it, create a classroom exhibition that tells the story of their class,

and even act as docents to lead a "tours" of their finished exhibitionss. This type of pre-visit activity

would further serve as tool to reduce the novelty effect as students enter the FLMNH for the first time,

because they will be more familiar with natural history museums, what they collect, the type of people

who work there and how museums and their staff can be used as an educational resource.

It was challenging to create a Discovery Guide and classroom activities that can be used by third,

fourth, and fifth graders due to the wide diversity in their cognitive development. This complexity was

especially evident in the Historical Timeline post-visit activity. This activity has undergone many changes

and speaks to the difficulty of introducing abstract topics, such as the concept of time, to eight and nine

year olds. The activity, as it stands, asks students to place a series of tabs with global, local, and

personal events on a timeline made of string that stretches twenty or more feet and represents time

from the first evidence of people in Florida to present day. The goal of this activity is to give students a

visual representation of time and allow them to see that most of the tabs bearing the historical events

we study are grouped closely together near the present day, while the first evidence of people in Florida

is many feet away. I have watched this activity both succeed and fail. It works best with fourth and fifth

grade students and is hit-or-miss with third grade students. It usually misses in the fall and hits in the

spring, when the students are older and have begun to study state history.

When I presented the timeline activity as a part of the Discovery Guide's pre-visit activities at

the in-service teacher workshop held at the Florida Museum of Natural History in April, 2011, the

teachers' reactions were mixed. The overall consensus was that the activity was good and seemed like

fun, but many teachers suggested the removal of the tabs with global events such as the assassination

of Julius Caesar and the start of WWII.80 I originally included these events as points of reference

intended to place Florida's history in a greater context. It was suggested by several teachers that these

more global historical references could cause more confusion than clarity for younger students (third

graders), as most world history is not introduced until fifth and sixth grade. At this time, the activity has

not been altered, but its structure allows for plenty of customization. The first point on the timeline-

the first people in Florida-is so far away from present day on the timeline string that the events placed

in between have little bearing on the outcome of the activity, which is intended to provide a visual

representation of the large span of time between the first evidence of people in Florida and more

modern historical events. In that regard, I suggest that teachers using this activity rely on their own

judgment and knowledge of their students' comprehension levels to select the events they believe will

best serve their students' understanding of timeline concepts.

Changes to the Discovery Guide itself should include more explicit definitions of some terms

included in the text of the guide. While it is likely that chaperones or teachers could provide students

with definitions for words like "missionary", "import", or "export", some terms may be more difficult.81

The Discovery Guide makes a reference to "federally recognized Indian tribes", but offers no explanation

of what it means for a tribe to be federally recognized and why it is important. Additionally, in the

Fishing Heritage gallery and South Florida's Native American Legacy, students are asked to discuss some

of the concepts presented in the gallery with a partner. These are the only opportunities throughout

the guide for students to work in groups. Students in the upper elementary grades tend to take great

80 See Appendix, Page 9.
81 See Appendix, Page 7.

satisfaction from working with partners or in groups so giving them that opportunity may increase their

overall enjoyment of the museum visit. It can take extra time to sort out groups or partners, so it would

not be advisable to utilize group work in every gallery, but allowing students to interact directly with

their peers at least one other time during their museum visit would be beneficial.

Another possible change to the Discovery Guide would involve a re-thinking of its layout and

design. Though the guide's layout was based on an existing FLMNH guide to museum galleries focusing

on Florida's Environment, it has been suggested that the Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native

People is a dense, text-heavy document that may be intimidating or overwhelming to some chaperones.

Two solutions to this issue were suggested. One possible solution would be to provide bulleted lists in

lieu of the paragraph structure used to answer each chaperone prompt. However, I am concerned that

if this solution were adopted, much of the information on each page would be lost, as a bulleted list

would require more page space. Another possible solution would involve holding or underlining key

words in the paragraphs. This would allow chaperones to more quickly locate the specific answers to

each prompt. For example, for the prompt, "How were canoes vital to Calusa life? Observe and

describe how they were made." The supporting paragraph would remain the same, but the words,

"travel", "trade", "fishing", "warfare", and "dugout canoes" would be bolded or otherwise emphasized

to answer the questions of the canoes' functions and construction.82 I find this method of emphasizing

key words preferable to a bulleted list as it does not affect the layout of the page, thus allowing the

same number of prompts to fit on each page. Also, this second option would let all of the

supplementary text remain, which I believe will help chaperones to better answer students' questions

and provide more information, if necessary, throughout the galleries.

Finally, the post-visit phase of the guide could benefit from a third activity. The mapping

activity, while highlighting important geographic concepts, caters to younger students (third grade) and

82 See Appendix, Page 5.

only involves coloring specific areas on a Florida map. The second activity asks students to compare

Florida's different native tribes, using a chart to visualize their similarities and differences. This activity

requires students to recall a lot of information from their museum visit, which may be difficult if they

were not taking notes or sketching during the visit. Many student groups will use notebooks or

sketchpads, but for those who do not, this activity will be more difficult. Thus, a third activity that

requires greater critical thinking than the mapping activity, but less recall of facts would be a welcome

addition to the post-visit phase. Additionally, the post-visit activities would benefit from a greater

diversity of activities. Though some class discussion is utilized, each of the provided activities involves a

largely paper-based activity. Providing students with opportunities to create an artwork representing a

concept they encountered at the museum or asking them to create a play and act out a day in the life of

a Calusa child would not only add variety to the post-visit phase, but it would also bring the more

informal learning methods utilized at the museum into the classroom.

The Discovery Guide to Florida's Early Native People has been distributed to Alachua County

teachers in its current form, without any of the additions or changes discussed here. While the minor

changes suggested may serve to improve the Discovery Guide and its activities in small ways, I believe

the overall functionality of the guide is strong and serves as an excellent example of a three-part field

trip model supported by museum and education theory.


Florida's Early Native People


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lhe rfldaSunai State Discoverth ii;. complex. 10-ISmrinutes per gallery, :
S Stanrdi can be found below cultural ahisteotof e.i~a native totalingl.1.5 hours for alt sl,
people that oriiliyid i. Florida. Picka few galleries or questions
and still i heedy.:' : to explore, or visit all six.
ii*: I

Thank you for your interest in studying Florida's early native
people at the Florida Museum of Natural History. This guide
offers an opportunity to learn about the ancient Calusa and
Fort Walton people as well as the Seminole and Miccosukee
Tribes that still live in Florida today.

You will visit six different galleries about Florida's early native
peoples Fishing Heritage, Calusa Mound and Village, The
Calusa Leader's House, South Florida's Native American Legacy,
Today's South Florida Indian People and The Apalachicola River
of Trade found in the South Florida People & Environments
Exhibit and the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife Exhibit.

Self-guided programs allow students to explore the exhibits and
discuss questions based on their observations. This Discovery
Guide field trip packet provides worksheets with standards-based
questions you can share with chaperones and students. The
questions are designed so that you may choose for students to
complete them verbally through discussion and/or nonverbally
through writing.

As an extension of your classroom, this packet also includes
suggestions to assist in developing relevant pre-visit and
post-visit lesson plans and activities.

., i ,' :.. _" 'V ", /. .-t.

Fl cidSunslI St Standards

SS3.AL 4A.1.1:: SS4.A.3.8 SSA,A.1.1
SS.3 A1.3. ,LS A.2.1 ,SSA.A.3.10 :- SS..A.1.2
SS.3.GT .A. 4.A9.1 SS.S 2.1
SS.3.q41GA2 sS A s SSA.219..
SSS.3.G A4.4 : : A -" .. -. S ". .... "
SS.3E.A4 .

Before Your Visit:
1. Read through the guide questions and pre-visit activity
suggestions on the next page to help prepare your chaperones
and students.
2. Make copies of the worksheets to bring with you. The
Museum does not provide copies. If students will be writing,
bring pencils and journals or paper.
3. Separate students into small groups with chaperones. Each
group should start in a different gallery to avoid congestion.
4. Instruct chaperones to help students discuss and/or write
answers to the guide questions. Each gallery should take
approximately 10-15 minutes.

While at the Museum:
1. The guide questions will encourage students to look closely at
the Museum exhibits, think critically about their observations
and discuss their findings with classmates and chaperones.
2. Many questions are open-ended. Encourage students to give
original and thoughtful answers rather than reading exhibit text.
Ask prompting questions such as "What else can you find?"
and "What do you see that makes you say that?" There are no
wrong answers-simply educated guesses based on their own
3. Take time to observe the exhibits beyond the suggested
guide questions.
4. You may also want to visit the Museum's Dugout Canoes:
Paddling Through the Americas Exhibit as a compliment to
the Fishing Heritage gallery.

After Your Visit:
1. Read through the post-visit activity suggestions on the next
page to review with students.

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A Chaperone's Guide to discovering Florida's Early Native People I Grades 3-5 1 page 3

Pre-Visit Preparation
* How many students have previously visited the Florida
Museum? What did you see there?
* Give students an overview of the Museum's exhibits.
* Define vocabulary terms.
* What does an archaeologist do?
* What are primary and secondary sources?
* Color areas of a Florida map to show the regions where
Florida's native people lived.

Post-Visit Review
* What did you enjoy most about your field trip to the Museum?
* Have students share, compare, and discuss answers to the
worksheet questions.
* Describe an example of a primary source used by the Museum.
* Discuss the kinds of artifacts we leave behind and what they
may tell future archaeologists about our society.
* Have you ever been fishing? Do you use any tools that were
similar to the Calusa?
* What happened to the Calusa?

Journal Writing if
Suggested prompts for students to write or draw in their journals:
* What was your favorite exhibit in the Museum?
* How does the museum use primary sources to learn about
early native people?
* Describe an object you observed or drew at the Museum.
What was it used for and what might it tell us about the
Calusa's way of life?
* Archaeologists study middens to learn about the Calusa.
What do you think your trash would tell future scientists
about you?
* Imagine you are a Calusa child living in a fishing
village. Describe a typical day for you.

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A Chaperone's Guide to discovering Florida's Early Native People I Grades 3-5 I page 4

Welcome Chaperones!
Thank you for choosing to spend time with students at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Your role is essential to ensuring
your group has a positive experience. To enrich your visit, this guide asks open-ended questions about the exhibit related to the
students' curriculum. Encourage students to give thoughtful and original answers. Prompt them to explore further by asking
"What else can you find?" and "What do you see that makes you say that?" You can also help students find answers to their own
questions by reading exhibit labels and talking with Museum staff. You will spend 10-15 minutes in each gallery.

The ,i. i ...., for the Florida's Early Native People self-guided program are found in the South Florida People & Environments
Exhibit and the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife Exhibit.





Butterfly Rainforest Ticketing
Gift Shop
First Aid

A Chaperone's Guide to discovering Florida's Early Native People I Grades 3-5 I page 5

South Florida: People & Environments

Fishing Heritage: People have lived along the Gulf coast of Florida and utilized its natural resources for more
than 6,000 years.

* Why do you think the Calusa made their homes in the
An estuary is a body of water that contains a mixture of salt and
fresh water and is one of the richest environments on earth. This
environment is home to many kinds offish and shellfish. As a result,
the Calusa settled in the estuaries because of the abundance offish
and other ocean life that could be used for most of their food.

Besides fishing for food, how else do you think
'the Calusa used the natural resources in the
Shells were shaped, sharpened and used as tools
such as clam-shell knives or 'I l r,,i,'g-I ,i 11
hammers. Shark skin could be used as sandpaper and shark
teeth were made into a variety of tools, such as knives. Oil
from the sharks' livers could be used as body paint and
mosquito repellant.

Choose one of the fishing methods used by the
Calusa. Explain to a partner the method you think
was the most effective.
Some of the Calusa fishing methods include nets, spears,
hooks, throat gorges, weirs, and basket traps. Nets were the
foundation of Calusa success. Note the fishing net fragments
made of palm fiber from A.D. 700 1500. 1

* How were canoes vital to Calusa life? Observe and describe
how they were made.
Because the Calusa lived near estuaries, they used canoes for
everyday travel, trade, fishing and warfare. Like other Southeastern
peoples, the Calusa probably made dugout canoes from pine and
cypress trees by burning the middle of the tree and chopping out
the charred wood with shell tools. To help carry large loads, two
canoes could be lashed together with a platform between them.
In 1566 Pedro Menendez described the Calusa Indian leader
traveling along the coast of southwest Florida with, quote, "as
many as twelve canoes, and two of them fastened one to the other,
with decks covered with awnings and hoops and matting."

* Observe the diorama of a Calusa fishing village.
Ask students to describe what they see and discuss what they
think is happening. This scene is based on archaeological and
historical research and provides a summary of the information
explained in this gallery.

Calusa Mound and Village: This scene represents a Calusa family at their home on a small midden mound
about 500 years ago.

* A midden is a trash pile that the Calusa often used as a
support for their homes. What can a midden tell us about
the Calusa? What items can you find in the midden?
Encourage students to look at the midden outside and the sample
on the text panel. Archaeologists can study the Calusa's trash,
found in middens like this one, to learn about their diet, customs
and environment. They can identify the bones and shells of
animals that were eaten as well as seeds and wood remains.

* Why might it be good to live on top of a midden?
Middens created a higher elevation, which would help keep homes
safe from storm surge and high water. They also catch the breeze
and would be less vulnerable to insects.

* List the differences between this house and your house.
What do you think it would have been like to live in a
house like this, in a Calusa village?

Answers will vary, but encourage students to identify and consider
the construction materials, size, weather resistance, etc. of this
palm-thatched hut in relation to their own homes.

This display shows a cutaway view of an archaeological site.
* Locate the oldest and newest layer of this midden.
The oldest layer will be at the bottom and the newest layer is at the
top. You can relate this to a classroom trash can the things you
put in the can first are on the bottom, and those most recently
deposited are on top.

* Where can we find evidence of European contact with
the Calusa?
Near the top of the midden, 500 years ago. Trade items are evidence
of when the Calusa met and began trading with Europeans.

A Chaperone's Guide to discovering Florida's Early Native People I Grades 3-5 I page 6

South Florida: People & Environments

The Calusa Leader's House: This palm-thatched structure is a small version of a Calusa leader's house based
on historical documents and archeological evidence. The documents tell us the house was large enough to hold 2,000
people comfortably. Note: It is difficult to write in this dark gallery. Chaperones will need a flashlight to read the questions.

* Observe the scene inside the Calusa leader's house. Ask
students to describe what they see and discuss what they
think is happening.
Prompt students by asking, "What else can you find?" and "What
do you see that makes you say that?" The setting is about the year
1564 in the Calusa capital of Calos (probably what is Mound Key
near Fort Myers today). A distant chief is visiting the Calusa leader
and his close associates. At the time, the Calusa were the most
powerful people in all of south Florida.

* Who do you think is the Cacique (Calusa leader)?
The leader is on the platform in the center. He is surrounded by his
closest advisors as he welcomes a visiting leader using a traditional
hand greeting that shows loyalty to the leader.

* Many different materials and products came to the
Calusa through trade, exchange and tribute. Identify all
of the trade items in the leader's house.

Trade items include some materials from the
region and others from far away large shells
from the Gulf, galena (used for making pigments)
from Missouri, quartz from the Appalachian
Piedmont, goods from European shipwrecks,
various types of stone for making tools from all
over the Southeast.

* Observe the jewelry and decorations the people
in this scene are wearing. From what materials
are these decorations made and where did they
come from?
The Calusa used body paints almost daily and a wide
variety of ornaments. Jewelry and decorations made
from teeth, bones, and shells came from sea life found
in the estuaries as well as land animals such as deer.
They also painted themselves with pigments and
may have made tattoos.

South Florida's Native American Legacy: The Calusa left behind a material record of their long standing
accomplished culture. These objects give us a window into their world.

* Spanish missionaries made two attempts in the 1500's
to convert the Calusa to Christianity but neither was
successful. With a partner, discuss why you think the
missions were unsuccessful.
The Calusa had their own religious beliefs and felt very strongly
about keeping their traditions. The Spanish missionaries used
violence to scare the Calusa into changing their beliefs, but even
after the missionaries killed the Calusa leader, they refused to
adopt Christianity.

* As a result of European contact, the Calusa culture died
out in the mid 1700's. Discuss some of the causes of their
European diseases, warfare, slavery and displacement are a few of
the reasons the Calusa seem to have disappeared from south Florida.
Some of the Calusa may have lived on with the newly arrived native
peoples from the north today known as the Seminoles. Others went to
Cuba with the Spaniards when Florida was ceded to England in 1763.

* Explore this gallery and observe or draw the objects that
you think are most interesting.
Encourage students to explore the entire gallery. Ask them to share
why they think certain artifacts are interesting. Discuss what they
think the object is made of or what its function may have been. Ask
them how something made of wood might survive in the ground for
hundreds of years.

* Are the artifacts in this gallery primary or secondary
The artifacts that archaeologists find and remove from the ground
are our best primary sources about the life of the Calusa, which is
why the Museum works so hard to preserve them.

* Find the animals depicted in the wooden figures.
Why do you think they chose these animals?
Some of the animals include: cat, deer, wolf, feline-panther,
falcon, pelican, alligator, and crane.

* Observe the lighting in these cases. Why do you
think they are so dark?
These objects are very old and many have been
underground for a long time in a wet and dark
environment, so bright lights can fade their paint
colors or dry out the wood until they are so brittle
they fall to pieces. The Museum wants to continue
to learn from these artifacts for years to come,
so they we keep the cases cool and dark
to preserve our best sources of
information about Florida's
ancient cultures.


A Chaperone's Guide to discovering Florida's Early Native People I Grades 3-5 I page 7

South Florida: People & Environments

Today's South Florida Indian People: There are two federally recognized Indian tribes in south Florida
today the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes, as well as the unaffiliated Independent or Traditional Seminoles.

* The two federally recognized tribes in south Florida
today are the Seminoles and the Miccosukee, as well as
the unaffiliated Independent or Traditional Seminoles.
How did the Seminole tribe originate?
When Europeans invaded America, native people suffered tremendous
population loss and cultural disintegration from disease, warfare and
slavery. Determined to survive, many Indian people joined together
and some moved to Florida particularly those from Georgia and
Alabama. They were joined by remnant populations of Florida's early
native people and were referred to as cimarrones by the Spanish,
which means wild or untamed. Among the Indians, this word later
became Seminole.

* What was the early relationship like between the United
States and the Seminole people?
From 1817-1858, the United States waged three wars against the
Seminole people in an attempt to remove them from their land, and
relocate them to "Indian Territory" west of the Mississippi River.
Approximately 3,000 Seminoles were deported to Oklahoma. Today,
descendants of these Seminoles are members of the Seminole Nation
of Oklahoma. A few hundred Seminoles evaded government capture
and their descendants are members of tribes in south Florida today.

* Who were the "Black Seminoles"?
Africans who escaped from slavery in the English colonies fled
to Spanish Florida and became allies with the Seminole people,
though they created a unique culture that was all their own. They
often acted as interpreters between the Seminoles and Europeans.

Today descendants of Black Seminoles live in Oklahoma, Texas
and Mexico. Some escaped to the Caribbean and their
descendants continue to liv, ii i th1 B.iliuirr o.

* Besides artifacts, what primiarN
sources can you find in this gallery. 9l '
Transcripts of European do, ,a .'ii'.
audio recordings, video, and ,iii. f ,n ai
with modern Indian people
in south Florida are all
primary resources that
give us a complete
picture of Indian culture
throughout Florida's

* Observe the cultural
objects on display and
observe or draw one
that you find most
The cultural objects found
here represent the tradition
of the Indian people who liv. ,i
south Florida today. Encou' rv .
students to observe the clothing, '~ I
woodwork, baskets and silver artifacts. Discuss what they find
interesting about these objects.

Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife

The Apalachicola River of Trade: Seven hundred years ago, the native people of northwest Florida shared
cultural traits with most societies east of the Mississippi River. Extensive trade networks located along the rivers
connected them.

* Observe the trade scene. Ask students what they see and
what they think is happening in this scene.
Prompt students by asking, "What else can you find?" and "What
do you see that makes you say that?" Identify trade items that
would have been exported and imported by the Fort Walton people.

S*F From the exhibits, what differences and
), similarities can you find between the Calusa and
the Fort Walton people?
While both cultures have a chief, the Fort Walton leader
is female, whereas the Calusa leader is male. Their
environments are also different: the Calusa reside
in the estuaries and depend on the water for their food,
while the Fort Walton depend on the forests for hunting
.,,ame and on the rivers for fishing. The Calusa had no

need to grow crops because everything they needed came from the
estuaries, yet the Fort Walton rely heavily on the corn they grow.
Both cultures engage in trade with native peoples from across the

* Find the timeline. What are the important events marked
on this timeline?
Timelines give us a picture of when things happened in history.
Some timelines exist naturally, like those found in middens. Others
are created by archaeologists and historians. This timeline shows
when the first people came to Florida (12,000 years ago), when the
sea level began to rise and change Florida's coastline (6,000 years
ago), and when Europeans first came to Florida (500 years ago).
Encourage students to identify the other events on the timeline
and compare those events to what they have seen in the Museum.

Pre-Visit Activities
Timelines MUSEUM
Grades 3 5 oF NAAL .

Objective: Students will gain an understanding of historical sequence by chronologically
arranging events on a timeline.

Sunshine State Standards
SS.3.A.1.3, SS.4.A.3.3, SS.4.A.2.1, SS.4.A.3.6, SS.4.A.9.1, SS.5.A.1.2

Inquiry Question: How do historians map events that happened in the past?

Activity I
Classroom Timeline

Beginning in the fall, mount a string or length of wire along a wall in the classroom. Mark
regular intervals along the string using clothespins, colorful ribbons, or tape to represent the
number of weeks in the school year.

At the end of each week, discuss with students the notable events of the week. What did we
learn? Did someone have a birthday? Was there a school play or an important sporting event?
Mark these events on the timeline by pinning, tying, or taping them and writing the date. Don't
forget to mark your trip to the Florida Museum!

Throughout the school year, refer to past events on the timeline. Have students reflect on
what has changed since the beginning of the year. How many weeks have passed and how
many remain until the end of the year? What has been the most important event so far?

Activity II
Personal Timelines

On paper or poster board, have students create an autobiographical timeline. Either
horizontally or vertically, they will draw a line and measure regular distances of time. For
example, one inch would be equal to one year, etc.

By each mark of time, students may draw or write about one or several events in their life at
each time. Ask them to consider why this method of recording time may be helpful to

Activity III
Historical Timeline
Grades 4- 5

To help students visualize the lengths of time between important historic events, create a
historical timeline together as a class.

A discussion defining B.C. and A.D. or B.C.E. and C.E. may be necessary.
Measure a length of string with one foot being equal to one thousand years. Mark each
increment of one thousand years with a piece of masking tape, on which the year is written.
Have each student write a historic date on one piece of tape and place it on the timeline. The
attached list of notable events includes Florida and United States history, as well as famous
world events for reference.

After each event is placed, stretch the string to its full length-it may be necessary to go
outside or in a hallway. Ask students to stand near the piece of tape they placed. Where are
most of the students gathered? Discuss what these large gaps can tell us about Native
American history and European contact.

12,000 B.C. First evidence of Paleo-lndians in Florida
5000 B.C. Calusa established coastal settlements
3000 B.C. First evidence of written language
1333 B.C. King Tutankhamen takes the throne
44 B.C. Julius Caesar is assassinated
1200 A.D. Emergence of Mississippian culture
1492 A.D. Columbus discovers America
1513 A.D. Ponce de Leon encounters Calusa
1565 A.D. St. Augustine is founded
1620 A.D. The Mayflower lands on Plymouth Rock
1763 A.D. Calusa fade from Florida history
1776 A.D. Declaration of Independence is signed
1832 A.D. Seminole Wars
1845 A.D. Florida becomes a state
1865 A.D. Abolition of slavery
1879 A.D. Edison's electric light bulb
1912 A.D. Railroads reach Key West
1939 A.D. WWII begins
1969 A.D. Apollo 11 lands on the moon
2001 A.D. Year students were born (will vary)
2009 A.D. Barack Obama takes office as president
2011 A.D. Present day

Post-Visit Activities UAM
Early Native People Review MUSEUM
Grades 3 5 OF NATURAL

Objective: Students will be able to identify the Native American tribes in Florida. Students will
be able to compare and contrast cultural features of each tribe.

Sunshine State Standards
SS.3.G.1.1., SS.3.G.3.1, SS.3.G.3.2, SS.3.G.4.2., SS.4.A.2.1, SS.4.G.1.2., SS.4.G.1.4, SS.5.A.2.2.,

Inquiry Questions: What Native American tribes have settled in Florida and in which regions?
Which tribes are still active in Florida today? What are the similarities and differences between
Florida's early native people?

Activity I
On the map provided, students will color and label the settlement regions of the Calusa and
Fort Walton tribes. Students will also identify the locations of the Seminole and Miccosukee
tribes that remain active in Florida today with a star or other identifying mark.

Reflect on discussions had at the Florida Museum about what happened to the Calusa and
other Floridian tribes as a result of European contact. How did interactions between Native
American tribes and European settlers affect Native American territories?

Activity II
Divide the class into four groups and allow time reflect on the exhibitions they saw at the
Florida Museum, as well as compare worksheet answers or journal entries. Then, in groups,
students will complete the table, comparing Florida's native peoples. Once each group has
completed their table, compare responses as a class (to ensure accurate information). Was
there a common favorite object? Did someone remember an especially unique fact from one of
the galleries? Based on the table, which tribes share the most common traits?

An interesting Memorable
Tribe Region Environment Subsistence Disappearance teest emoa
fact museum object





An interesting Memorable
Tribe Region Environment Subsistence Disappearance at msem o
fact museum object

Calusa South IsuaIr\ IishitnL 1703 1F ishing nets

Fort 1Hunling and Approimately mid I heir C hief ,,.ss
Nortilutest I ot stones
W alton arining 1500l()(s Icile
I lintiing aind
Seminole South [.v llcd Fishing Still in I lorida Knol n 1or their sil r pendants
f(no\\. modern colorili clolhlim
_Iilcslt c)
ltiih 'land
\'arii-is tlhroiuchout l hie .... ,imilar
Miccosukee South i OUI h .oIii shin. Still in llorida S\\ ctl.t s ba
oth I lonrda (no\\. modern to S'icmiinilc
lifest Ie)

<'. \ i i \ __ --
?S r J- I ^ .,
r" .- i. j^ 1'1 !" *T|.^ ^ .. )- \ .,,-,|,,
{L-'^- i' y- /

I -"
c~ 1
-- (,----r I
", C 1 j

v L

x 1
.i L
'--^. I 0H

J'1-,! ~I "\L

Y i

i .

~s' L





-. I

Calusa Territory

Fort Walton Territory s

* Seminole Reservations

B Miccosukee Reservations
p Co

y L-^




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Jessica Belcoure was born on September 9, 1985 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The only child of

Janet and B.J. Belcoure, she represents the fourth generation in the family business, Roma Cafe,

Detroit's oldest Italian restaurant. Jessica attended Regina High School in Harper Woods, Michigan,

where she played ice hockey and graduated in 2003.

Jessica earned her B.S. in Anthropology from Central Michigan University in 2007. While

pursuing her degree, she assisted anthropologist and sociologist, Dr. Leonard Lieberman with his

research contributing to the deconstruction of the race concept. Jessica also spent two semesters

studying abroad. In 2004, she studied Italian Renaissance art history in Florence, Italy. In 2006, she

studied French language and culture in Angers, France at the Centre International D'itude de la Langue

Frangaise at the Universit6 Catholique De L'Ouest. Independently, Jessica also traveled in Europe,

exploring museums and historic sites in France, Italy, and Germany.

Upon graduating from Central Michigan University, Jessica spent two years as a visitor services

and education assistant at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, Michigan. There, she developed

and executed Michigan history programs for upper elementary students. She also spent time assisting

in the care of the museum's collections and exhibits.

In 2009, Jessica began a Master's degree in Museum Studies at the University of Florida in

Gainesville, Florida. Her graduate work focused on museum education and improving the museum

visitor experience through a variety of avenues, including tactile programs, innovative field trip planning,

and participatory art installations. During her studies, Jessica remained active in the professional world

by holding internships and assistantships at the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Florida Museum of Natural

History, and the Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention.

Jessica graduated from the University of Florida with her M.A. in Museum Studies in May of

2012. She currently lives in Gainesville, Florida and works as the Education Director at the Cade

Museum for Creativity + Invention, developing education programs that use thematic learning to tie

inventors to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. She still has trouble with fractions.

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