“We didn’t know we were doing science”: Engaging with science and mathematics in an archaeology afterschool program


  • Amber Simpson Binghamton University
  • Laurie E. Miroff Public Archaeology Facility, Binghamton University – SUNY
  • Lynda Carroll SUNY Broome Community College
  • Nina M. Versaggi
  • Jada McCann Binghamton University
  • Diana Murtaugh Binghamton University
  • Jessica Coles Binghamton University




Archaeology, Afterschool Program, Middle School, Syncretic Approach


An extensive number of empirical research studies support the engagement of young children and youth in out-of-school science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics learning experiences. In this case study, we add to this knowledge base through examining how rural middle school learners engage with science and math concepts and practices through an afterschool program that emphasized the development of STEM content, skills, and practices using the field of archaeology, as well as Indigenous knowledges, as mediums. Results highlighted how various syncretic approaches within the afterschool program afforded 61 middle school aged learners’ opportunities to engage with math and science concepts common to archaeologists and Indigenous peoples. We illustrate this through five “doings.” For example, learners engaged in similar science practices to Indigenous peoples through considering how local landscapes and the natural environment informed decisions regarding settlements. This study concludes with recommendations for professional archaeologists and educators to adapt and/or develop a similar afterschool program to support students’ participation as ARCH + STEM learners.


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How to Cite

Simpson, A., Miroff, L. E. ., Carroll, L. ., Versaggi, N. M. ., McCann, J. ., Murtaugh, D. ., & Coles, J. . (2023). “We didn’t know we were doing science”: Engaging with science and mathematics in an archaeology afterschool program. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 9(2), 78–102. https://doi.org/10.51355/jstem.2023.135




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