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The Adena People: Moundbuilders of Kentucky- A Companion Guide for Intermediate and Middle School Social Studies Teachers

By Judy Sizemore

The video explores what archaeologists know - and what they don't know - about the Adena, a prehistoric people of the Early to Middle Woodland Period (200 B.C.-A.D. 300) who built burial mounds and earthworks that still dot central Kentucky's landscape. Despite decades of research, archaeologists still know more about how these ancient people buried their dead than about how they lived their daily lives.

The eight cross-curricular activities in the Companion Guide will help teachers build on the video to explore concepts of culture, geography, and historical perspective. While the video is focused on Kentucky's prehistoric cultures, the Companion Guide will help students develop concepts that can be applied to any culture. Because students often have the misconception that Native American cultures no longer exist, the activity extensions emphasize comparisons to contemporary Native American cultures. Although the major emphasis of this Companion Guide is on social studies, the activities encompass math, technology, language arts, and arts and humanities.

The lessons are diverse. A pre-viewing activity asks students to identify elements common to all cultures. Then students research Adena lifeways; make ceramic pots and engraved tablets; explore the purpose of visual arts using archaeological techniques; consider the ethical issues surrounding the excavation of Native American graves and sacred objects; gain insight into the scientific process by comparing the effectiveness of old fashioned versus modern data recovery methods; and consider what archaeologists do in their careers.

Essential Questions
What are the elements of culture?
How did the prehistoric people of Kentucky interact with their environment to meet their needs, both physical and spiritual?
How do we learn about the cultures of the past?
How has the science of archaeology changed in recent decades?

Kentucky Academic Expectations Addressed
Goal 1: 1.1-1.16
Goal 2: 2.1-2.6, 2.8, 2.10, 2.16-2.20, 2.22, 2.23, 2.36
Goals 5 and 6

Intermediate and Middle School Social Studies Content Addressed
Culture and Society
Historical Perspective

Order Information

Copies of the companion guide may be ordered directly from the Kentucky Heritage Council, 300 Washington Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, or by emailing Yvonne Sherrick.  Be sure to include your complete contact information.


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Last Updated 6/6/2008