Georgette Mutafyan, a seventh-grader at the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, explained in a presentation Thursday the kinds of things that can be found at an archeological dig.
"Fossils and artifacts," she told a group of about 40 classmates and teachers. "Fossils are hardened remains of animals and plants that lived long ago, and artifacts are man-made."
The presentation was part of a ceremony to celebrate the Reseda school's new mock archeological dig site, built in part by students and faculty over the past year and a half. A $2,500 grant from the Los Angeles Unified School District funded the project.
"We used to have sandboxes and we would dream of having a real dig," said Judy Plouff, one of the teachers who helped build the site. "Students have made things to place in the bottom, and they will dig them when we study early civilization in archeology."
The site is about 6-by-20 feet and is divided by bricks into eight sections. On Thursday, it was not yet filled with dirt, in order to allow parents and teachers to see the masks, tiles and "fossils" made by students.
Debbie Leidner, administrator for the Birmingham / Cleveland / Reseda cluster, who helped the school secure the grant, threw in the first shovelful of dirt.
"This is very important because kids need to see it and feel it to get excited about it," she said. "Just reading books isn't enough."