Reading the Signs

School kids doing a project with Reading the Signs program at JPPM. Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, in conjunction with Morgan State University, offers an innovative new curriculum that brings the study of culture, science and environmental change together in one package. Reading the Signs provides students with a look at the archaeology in the Chesapeake Bay area from the perspective of examining change through biological specimens uncovered during excavation. Working with charcoal specimens and oyster shells, students will learn to see a linear progression from what the Bay was like 400 years ago to what is here today and what may be here in the future.

This new program has been designed with a pre-visit portion for the classroom and an on-site portion at JPPM. Your students will get their hands dirty, get wet, use cutting edge technology, and explore the past in a tangible way! It has been designed with needs of Maryland social studies and science teachers in mind and fills many of the Maryland VSC standards for 8th grade.

If it’s just not possible to bring your students to the Park, we hope that our in-class-only version will satisfy your needs. This revised version of the field program will allow you to complete the lessons without leaving your classroom! The complete lessons are available below in a pdf format.   Contact the JPPM Education Coordinator at 410.586.8504 or email at to schedule a date and time for your on-site class visit OR to arrange for a Reading the Signs kit to be sent to you.

View of a sunset on the Patuxent River at JPPM.


Teacher Resources

Teacher Notebook

Reading the Signs Notebook

Pre-Visit Lesson 1

Pre-Visit Lesson 2

Maryland VSC Standards