The Puzzle of the Past - FREE

by  Mesa Verde National Park

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For over 700 years the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesa, including the many cliff dwelling villages nestled into the steep canyon walls. Today, rangers help visitors paint a picture of what life was like at Mesa Verde long ago. But how do we know what we know? In this program, students will learn about the many ways we can learn about the past, from making our own observations to listening to Pueblo stories and knowledge passed down through the generations. Using these various ways of knowing, your students will piece together an informed understanding of Mesa Verde’s past.

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About This Program


Multipoint: $0.00
Multipoint Premium: $0.00



45 Minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Google Hang Out
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

We are now scheduling programs for the spring of 2024. Programs run February 13th through April 11th, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please notify us a week prior to connecting if you won't be able to make your scheduled program time.

About This Provider

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde , CO
United States

The deep canyons and sprawling mesas that define Mesa Verde National Park are home to over a thousand species of plants and animals, including several that live nowhere else on earth. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesas and in the cliffs. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 tribes and offers visitors a spectacular window into the past.

Shannon Roberts

Program Details


For a complete program overview and detailed lesson plan, please visit our website.

Teacher-led Pre-Program - 15 Minutes

1. Activity 1: An Introduction to Mesa Verde
Teachers are encouraged to provide their students with a brief overview of Mesa Verde National Park prior to their scheduled ranger-led program. More information will be provided in the confirmation packet.

Ranger-led Program - 45 Minutes
(The following activities will be led by a ranger during the live program.)

1. Introduction: Ranger will introduce students to Mesa Verde National Park and will provide a brief program overview.

2. Activity: What if your home became a national park site?
In this activity, students will learn about the difficulties we face when learning about the past. Together, we will brainstorm different techniques and lines of evidence historians and archaeologists use to help piece together a more accurate image.

3. Activity: Think Like an Archaeologist
Students will have the opportunity to look at several objects archaeologists have removed from cliff dwelling sites. Working in small groups, students will try to figure out what the objects are and how they might have been used.

4. Activity: Knowledge Through the Generations
Through a series of pre-recorded videos, students will learn about the cliff dwelling objects directly from a descendent of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made them.

5. Conclusion: Ranger will provide a program summary and will review the main concepts covered in the program.


1. Explore the difficulties and challenges presented when learning about the past.

2. Learn the value of multiple lines of evidence and multiple ways of knowing.

3. Develop an appreciation for Native American history and heritage.

4. Understand the direct connections between the Ancestral Pueblo people and modern Pueblo communities.

Standards Alignment

National Standards