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New Exhibits Open!

L.A. is more wild than you think! Come celebrate the transformation of NHM into an indoor-outdoor Museum!
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Mobile Museum: An Archaeology Experience

Program Overview

  • The Mobile Museum: An Archaeology Experience is a two hour program for students in grades 3, 4, and 5.
  • The program is facilitated by two NHM educators who work with students in the field (Mobile Museum) and in the lab (classroom).
  • Students learn about the history and daily life of Chumash people of the past through the science and practice of archaeology.
  • Programs scheduled in the Fall semester may also be eligible for a follow-up visit to the Natural History Museum with subsidized bus transportion for participating classes.
  • If you are already scheduled for the NHM field trip component, you may wish to prepare for your visit by reviewing suggested itineraries or visiting the Museum in advance. Teachers are free with a school ID!

Program Objectives

  • To capture and cultivate student interest in archaeology and science
  • To immerse students in the work of a scientist and apply methods used in scientific inquiry, including observation, data collection and making hypotheses to understand how we know what we know about people of the past
  • To allow students understand the interrelationships between animals, plants, and humans in the local environment by exploring the natural resources of three regions: the coast, mountains and islands
  • To deepen understanding of the complex history and culture of Native peoples in Southern California

Fieldwork, archeology field site (50 ft Tractor Trailer)

This portion of the program is a simulation of archaeological field site in the Santa Monica Mountains. Students will assume the role of archaeologists conducting research to determine what made this site a good place for the Chumash to live. Working as archaeologists, students will make observations, excavate objects and piece together clues from the past to understand the Chumash peoples of California.


Laboratory (school-provided classroom)

This portion of the program is a simulation of research conducted in the laboratory. Students will assume the roles of archaeologists and analyze replicas of artifacts based on real data from archaeological sites in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties to draw conclusions about daily life. By interpreting and contextualizing material culture, students learn that the Chumash peoples of the past were a complex society thriving in Southern California, a land rich in natural resources.

Curricular Materials

Archaeology Experience Supplemental Lessons

Thank you to teachers who contributed lessons including Marisa Andrade, Christina Bludau, Leslie Huey, Juana Medina, Jenifer Roosevelt and Carol Williard.

Connections to Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices

1. Asking questions and defining problems

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts

1. Patterns

2. Cause and effect

3. Scale, proportion, and quantity

Connections to California History-Social Science Standards

3.1 Students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.

     1. Identify geographical features in their local region (e.g., deserts, mountains, valleys, hills, coastal areas, oceans, lakes).

     2. Trace the ways in which people have used the resources of the local region and modified the physical environment.

3.2 Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past.

     1. Discuss the ways in which physical geography, including climate, influenced how the local Indian nations adapted to their natural environment (e.g., how they obtained food, clothing, tools).

4.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the physical and human geographic features that define places and regions in California.

     3.  Identify the state capital and describe the various regions of California, including how their characteristics and physical environments (e.g., water, landforms, vegetation, climate) affect human activity.

     5. Use maps, charts, and pictures to describe how communities in California vary in land use, vegetation, wildlife, climate, population density, architecture, services, and transportation.

4.2 Students describe the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods.

     1. Discuss the major nations of California Indians, including their geographic distribution, economic activities, legends, and religious beliefs; and describe how they depended on, adapted to, and modified the physical environment by cultivation of land and use of sea resources.

Connections to Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts

SL.3-5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

L.3-5.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships

RI.3-5.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

W.3-5.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

W.3-5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.