Seeds of Change


The Center for American Archeology is pleased to offer out-of-class learning sessions that apply the concepts of Illinois Learning Standards in Life and Earth Science to the archeological knowledge of the processes and consequences of plant domestication in the Great Rivers Region. Learning sessions will be held at the CAA. Sessions can be tailored to fit specific needs of instructors and classes.

Who is eligible and what is the cost?
Public schools with a student body that has a demonstrated financial need in Calhoun, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, and St. Clair counties are eligible to participant. This program is offered at no cost or a reduced cost to public schools through a generous grant from the Monsanto Fund. We will reimburse the cost of transportation to and from Kampsville. Reimbursement eligibility is based on the percentage of students that receive free or reduced lunches at your school.

Will this program be appropriate for my class?
This program is intended for students, grades 6-12, in earth, environmental, and life science classes.

When is this program offered?
This program is offered during the spring semester from March 16-May 15, 2015.


What will my students learn from this program?
Students will receive first-hand instruction in the archeology of plant domestication, tour an archeological site, and work with archeological and modern plant samples. Sessions will provide both formal and informal experiential learning opportunities that teach students how to apply the concepts of the Illinois Learning Standard in Life Science and Earth Science to the archeological knowledge of plant domestication.

What types of activities will students take part in if they participant in this program?
We can work with teachers to accommodate specific curriculum needs. The types of learning sessions and activities that students may engage in include:

  • What’s in a plant? Students will review the structures of plants with emphasis on those parts of plants that people could use. Students will be able to examine various traits in plants to understand how humans may have manipulated plant growth to suit their needs.
  • Selecting the Seeds: Students will examine archeological samples for plant remains and review how archeologists collect and process these samples. Traits of archeological plant remains will be compared to modern plant remains with a discussion on inheritance and variation and the process by which people have domesticated and changed traits in certain plant species.
  • Test the soil: Students will tour an archeological site, take soil samples and test for evidence of human activity. Students will discuss how humans have modified the landscape through the process of plant domestication and agriculture.

What will the schedule for the day look like?

10:00 Arrive in Kampsville
10:15 Orientation and introduction to archeology
10:15-11:00 What’s in a plant learning session
11:00-11:45 Selecting the seeds learning session
11:45-12:30 Lunch break
12:30-2:00 Test the soil learning session
2:15 Depart from Kampsville
Schedules can be changed to accommodate travel times.


How does studying archeology apply to Illinois Learning Standards?
Archeology is inherently interdisciplinary. Archeologists use a multitude of methods, theories, and applications from the earth, environmental, and life sciences to form interpretations about people who lived thousands of years ago. This program will teach students how to apply concepts that archeologists use to understand how people domesticated plants and the consequences of plant domestication. Around 6,000 years ago, the people who made their home in this region began manipulating native plants by collecting, storing, and planting seeds. Archeologists know that through this process, the people once living in this region domesticated plants. In fact, the Great Rivers Region is one of 10 global centers of native plant domestication and the emergence of agriculture, making this region ideal for archeologists to study plant domestication.

What are the intended outcomes of this program?
Through this program, we hope that students will learn to apply subjects learned in the classroom to scientifically oriented archeological topics generally not taught in public schools. In so doing, we hope that students will be inspired to learn beyond traditional classroom curriculum which ultimately will result in improved interest and performance in science classes.

How do I arrange for my class to participant in this program?
You must schedule ahead of time to participate in this program. Please contact the CAA at or call 618-653-4316. We can schedule a date for your class’s visit and plan the specific curriculum.

Download the printer-friendly announcement flyer for the program.