Using Project Arch-ae-o in the Classroom

Transport your students into the past with Project Arch-ae-o, six engaging investigations of the Cahokia Mounds Historic Site supported with interactive modules and streaming video containing art, historical photos, and Mississippian artifacts from Cahokia Mounds and museums around the country. This multimedia resource also provides you with an overview of Pre-Columbian America, valuable content often missing in classroom studies. The online resources also offer you the opportunity to better prepare students for field trips to Cahokia Mounds or other Mississippian sites, as well as make your post-trip sessions and assessments more comprehensive and enjoyable.

Directions to Get Started

  1. Click "Register" on the front page.
  2. Click "I am a Teacher" if you are a parent or teacher affiliated with a school. Click "I am a Parent" if you are home-schooling. Click "I am a Student" if you have received a class code from your teacher or parent.
  3. Add your school information
  4. If you do not see your school listed, click "If you do not see your school listed, please click here." Add your school information. You will be redirected to the teacher registration, and the school you just added will be selected.
  5. Proceed with registration.

Recommended for Grades 5-8

Primary sources are used as the basis for all six Project Arch-ae-o investigations. Through reading, discussing, and weighing evidence, your students can develop historical thinking skills and become informed and practiced interpreters of the past.

  • Investigation 1: Digging Up the Past
  • Investigation 2: Before Columbus
  • Investigation 3: City of the Sun
  • Investigation 4: Ancient Architects
  • Investigation 5: Gods & Heroes
  • Investigation 6: Mark of the Mississippians


Each investigation is introduced by a cast of teens on location at the Cahokia Mounds Historic Site and contains animated reconstructions, historical art and photos, and aerial views of the mounds. Project Arch-ae-o contains over 30 minutes of streaming video. For those who wish to show the videos during class discussions, the video components will soon be available on disk.

Interactive modules encourage students to explore continuity and move through then-and-now images. Click-to-enlarge and zoom tools offer virtual access to some of the most intriguing Mississippian artifacts and the power to explore them like never before. Maps are available for download and offer focused questions for inquiry.

Time Commitment

The amount of time your class spends on Project Arch-ae-o is up to you! You can set up the system for students to work in pairs, groups, or as individuals. You can show the video introductions to the class and follow with discussion rather than have students view the individual clips online. You may set up the system to include all investigations or only one or two. Your students can keep a journal, collect data, and conduct additional Internet or library research.

Curriculum Resources

Download the Teacher's Guide here and Student Journals here. Classroom activities for each of the six investigations have been designed for maximum flexibility and can be easily adapted to meet your specific classroom needs. These activities will be posted at various intervals during the school year and are aligned with the Revised National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.


Built into the investigations are simulated digs and quizzes. Mississippian symbols are awarded to students that score a given number of points. The symbols won can be found in each student's online Arch-ae-o Archive. Not only do students learn the meaning of the symbols in the process, but will be able to recognize many of them on actual artifacts. Students receive a symbol when they answer 80% of the questions correctly.

Collect the journals at random intervals to check progress and summaries at the end of your study. Students can use the journals even after your study of the ancient Midwest and South is complete. Encourage students to share their journals with their families.

Each investigation ends with suggestions for culminating projects. Slideshows, PowerPoint presentations, essays and art projects can all serve to show what students have learned.