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Subject:

Re: Bill Wyman's light metal for children

From:

Catherine Petts <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 11 Jul 2006 17:40:41 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (35 lines)

Paul Barford refers to the PAS site for children 
http://www.pastexplorers.org.uk I have just visited it, and it is the most 
curiously written children's site I have ever read. I am left wondering 
whether the person who wrote it had any experience of writing for children, 
or even in places writing at all. Did they discuss it with teachers?  While 
its explanation of stratigraphy by comparison of strata with a large 
cake...... the idea that when you make a cake the bottom layer is older than 
the top layer. Well I have made a lot of cakes over the years and I make all 
the cake layers at the same time and add the filling between them later, 
which gives you old layer, new layer, old layer, new layer. Not a good 
introduction to stratigraphy

The site claims to be aimed at at Key Stage 2  age:7 - 11. I quote the 
paragraph below the description of stratigraphy

'In Britain, the prehistoric strata make up the bottom layer of the cake, 
the Roman period is the jam, the Anglo-Saxon period the cream, the Viking 
period the next layer of sponge, the medieval period another layer of jam, 
the post-medieval period another layer of sponge, and the icing right on the 
top of the cake is now! That's how archaeology works - each stratum is a 
short period of time, with older layers beneath it and more modern ones on 
top. When we open up the ground to take a look underneath as archaeologists, 
we can see these strata and look at each layer in turn, working backwards 
through time as we dig deeper and deeper'

To how many children of that age will the significant order of prehistoric, 
Roman, Anglo-Saxon etc mean anything. They may recognise Roman but will they 
even know what prehistoric, and post-medieval mean? and as for the language. 
I used to have a little programme that would give the reading age of any 
paragraph based on word length and syntax.  I would suggest that the reading 
age of this paragraph would be in excess of 11 years, the maximum age of the 
group it is directed at.


Catherine Petts

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