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Welcome to the Agua Apprentices Program

An online lesson and activity guide of environmental and science lessons to complete in your own space, from the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. Apprentices can complete three lessons per “season” to be named an “Agua Master”. (Level 1 - Agua Novice, Level 2 - Agua Journeyman & Level 3 – Agua Master). There are two video’s per lesson, the educational message, then the activity as well as a printable lesson plan. Lessons are most applicable for K – 4th grade.  


The lessons were made to be replicable in your own space, meaning supplies around a common household. Don’t have the supplies? Stop by the Discovery Center, and grab a pre-made kit. The kits will be labeled outside the main doors in a green mini library cabinet. (use photo attached to show where). The Discovery Center gates will be locked, use the turnaround parking space to quickly park and grab your kit. Kits are first come first serve.

Lesson 1: Outdoor Archaeology

Have you heard the word archaeology before? Archaeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites or digs and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.  Artifacts can be things like pottery, tools, skeletons or buildings. Archaeologists study human activity, and life that roamed the earth before people, from thousands of years ago all the way through today. In addition to artifacts, how else do we learn about our history?  One way is through fossils! A fossil is the remains or impression of a prehistoric organism preserved in petrified form or as a mold or cast in rock. When a fossil is found in the earth a scientist can run tests to date the fossil so we can learn and understand the plants and animals that lived in different times.  All these things can help scientists and archaeologists figure out where we lived, how we lived, what we ate amongst many other behaviors and lifestyles.

Outdoor Archaeology

Outdoor Archaeology

Play Video

We are going to be archaeologists today. When an archaeologist starts digging for artifacts, they keep careful notes about where items are found.  Most importantly, how deep in the ground the artifact is.  Why do you think that is important?  The deeper and artifact or fossil is found, the older it is. From this, archaeologists can place artifacts or fossils in chronological order (order of events). Sometimes though the ground gets disturbed and artifacts shift up down and all around.  


Now that we know a little about archaeology and fossils, it is time to become an archaeologist.​

Set-up and Supplies
  • Different sized paint brushes, cotton swabs, dry sponge (optional)  

  • Strainer

  • Sticks from outside

  • Twine or string

  • Notebook or paper to record findings 

  • Pen or pencil 

  • Various everyday household items (different sizes) to bury 

  • Play shovel (optional)

  • Gardening gloves (optional)


1. First, have your guardian gather various household items to bury.

Examples can be a pen, small toy, piece of clothing or anything that is okay to get dirty. For older kids it’s best to choose items that are difficult to identify without their context, such as the spring from a pen, or the spool from a dental floss container.

2. Have your guardian find a spot outside to create the arc excavation or dig site. 

In your yard, your guardian will bury the items at varying depths in a plot of dirt. Dry, sandy soil is best, as moist soil can make filtering the items through the strainer difficult.

3.Lastly, have your guardian will mark off the boundaries of the area in which the items were buried using sticks and string.

4. Now, with your guardian plot the “dig site” with in a notebook before beginning the "excavation" so that you will have a place to record your findings.

5. Use the play shovel or your hands with garden gloves to gently scrape or dust away layers of dirt, which can then be sifted through for artifacts using the strainer. Use the paint brush, toothbrush, dry sponge or cotton swab to gently clean away dirt from small objects. 


6. Once an artifact is found, it can be recorded in your notebook: object description, where it was found, and at what depth etc... Be creative and detailed with your descriptions! 

If you don’t know what an artifact is, guess in your notebook what it could be and what is could have been used for.