River Discovery Center Launches New Program on Mound Builders Tied to 5th Grade Core Curriculum

EJ Abell or Julie Harris
(270) 575-9958

The River Discovery Center announces a brand new Educational program targeted to 5th graders in the Paducah area.   The Mound Builder program’s curriculum is tied directly to Kentucky core content for 5th grades.  

The program delves into the ancient inhabitants of the region known as the Mississippian culture or Mound Builders.  The Mississippians culture which has been referred to as Mound Builder, comes from the large mounds they built for burial, ceremonial, and homes for ruling hierarchy.   The culture is known to have existed along our rivers 1500-3000 years ago.   Students receive instruction in Social Studies, Science, Geography, Cultures and Societies, Historical Perspective and Math.  

The curriculum was expressly created to give students the opportunity to have an instructional experience off-site that complemented what they were studying in the classroom.   The program is an extension of the center’s mission of educating about the river, its history, environment, commerce and its impact on our lives.

The students experience making “cordage,” which is strong “rope” created from a twisting and braiding technique likely used by the ancient Mound Builders.   And, the students view authentic artifacts from the period as well as handle animal pelts and other period pieces at a touch-table.  

The classroom experience ends with a detailed archaeological dig where the students are required to use scientific methods of investigation to unearth artifacts.    To further the experience, they are required to label, describe and document their excavation “finds.”

Stephanie Laird, a 5th grade teacher at Heath Elementary says, “The River Discovery Center provided an enriched hands-on learning experience for all students.  It allowed our students opportunities outside of the classroom in specific content areas which gave them greater understanding and made their learning more meaningful and fun.

Director of Education, EJ Abell says of the program, “The Mound Builder program is very exciting for us because not only are we able to offer a Core Content program, but we are also able to connect the students to the ancient heritage of this region. When I ask how many of them have ever found an arrowhead, most of them say they have. When I tell them how OLD that arrow is, they begin to get wide-eyed and interested in learning more.”

To date over 250 students have participated since the program started in March.   The program will expand for the 2014-2015 school year.  

You can visit the River Discovery Center at 117 South Water Street in downtown Paducah