Grandparents University 2014

Grandparents University 2014 wrapped up last Thursday and, as usual, the Campus Archaeology Program offered its two-day class about the history and archaeology of Michigan State University.

This year, our two-day class ended up getting flipped around due to inclement weather. Usually, the first day is reserved for a short talk and lecture followed by a walking tour of the West Circle area of north campus. During the tour, the history of the area is discussed as well as CAP projects that have occurred in the area. The second day is usually reserved for various activities for the kids and their grandparents to engage in. This year, the days were flipped around and we spent the first day introducing the class to CAP and the archaeology of MSU followed by a series of activities.

After the first day’s lecture, we pulled out some of CAP’s more notable artifacts that highlight certain aspects of MSU’s past for the class to look at, pick up, and ask questions about. At the same time as this, we had the rest of the class do a stratigraphy activity on the blackboard that involved placing artifacts of differing age at the correct point in the stratigraphy. After those, we introduced a new activity to the Grandparents University class, a trash activity game. The class was split into five groups and got to be the archaeologists! We gave each group a bag of trash and had them construct mini biographies for the person who owned the trash based on what they found in their bag.  After the activity, we had each group tell us what they came up with and we compared it to the biographies we had previously constructed for each bag, they all did very well! After the trash activity, we ended class with the presentation of a map I created that showed how north campus has changed over the campus’ history.

The second day, the CAP crew actually had to do some shovel testing on some sidewalks that were being replaced near Saint’s Rest in the morning. While we were digging, Dr. Goldstein gave another talk to the class before the walking tour. The tour left from Ag Hall and stopped at all of the important spots inside West Circle Drive (Saint’s Rest, Williams Hall/Museum, College Hall/Beaumont Tower, Sleepy Hollow, etc.). We also added a new stop to the tour this year. It ended at Morrill Plaza, the memorial that was put in at the site of Morrill Hall which was torn down last summer.

Overall, the class was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed the activities and was very attentive and engaged during the tour! This year’s new activity, the trash game, was another big hit. It is always a pleasure doing the Grandparents University class and while I won’t be able to help out again next year because of a fieldschool in Belize, I hope it is as successful as this summer’s class!


Author: Josh Schnell

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