fitting “coquina queries” into your curriculum

As educators, we have limited time in which to share important information and skills with our students. Each Coquina Queries unit combines three content areas: coquina structures, archaeological processes, and events and persons in Florida history. These units balance reading and writing with hands-on activities to stimulate student interest while building FCAT skills.

Each unit includes a teacher cover page with the following information. Please use this information to incorporate Coquina Queries lessons with other class content.
Items on the Teacher Cover Page:

Academic Outcomes / Lesson Objectives

  • Sunshine State Standards Assessed
  • Resources List
  • Materials List
  • Answer Key for Experiment or Activity
  • Student Articles & Activities List
  • Vocabulary List
  • Assessment Options, Including 2 Writing Prompts and 2 Assessment Questions

In addition, each student section begins with a paragraph titled, “Why Are We Studying…?” the Castillo, Coquina, Sugar Mills, etc. This introduction provides students with a context for future learning and explains why class time is being spent on this material.

These units were designed for 4th-5th grade classrooms, but have been reviewed by educators in 2nd-8th grades and found appropriate for each with some modification. Please utilize those articles and activities that are most appropriate to the needs of your class.

Coquina Queries is a valuable resource for any Florida teacher. Educators residing in NE Florida (between Jacksonville and New Smyrna) will find the added benefit that many of the coquina sites discussed are within fieldtrip distance of their classrooms. Please plan to visit these coquina sites as part of your experience of Coquina Queries.

Teaching Across the Curriculum:
Coquina Queries units may be taught in the order listed below; however, they are designed to stand alone. You may also choose to utilize student articles from varying units to support your own lesson goals. Please review these definitions of coquina, archaeology, and Florida history, then read on to see how each unit addresses these important topics in Florida’s past.

What is Coquina?
This stone was an important building material in Florida’s past. It influenced the outcome of wars, colonial efforts, slave plantations, and Florida’s basic economy. It was used to build forts, homes, plantations, canals, and even tombstones.

What is Archaeology?
Archaeology is the study of past humans by analyzing the artifacts and structures they left behind. Even in the absence of written documents, old buildings and other man-made items like plates, windowpanes, and trash pits can teach us about the people who lived in our state long ago.

What is History?
History is the study of past humans by analyzing the written documents they left behind. Many significant structures in Florida history were built from coquina, including sugar mills, plantation sites, hotels, cemeteries, and, of course, the Castillo de San Marcos. A variety of old written documents (including letters, newspapers, and journals) help to clarify the histories of these unique Florida sites.

How does each unit relate to coquina, archaeology,
and Florida history?

Unit 1: Ingredients of a Florida Fort 1 - Coquina

Coquina - Both the Castillo de San Marcos and Ft. Matanzas were fashioned from coquina stone.
Archaeology - These forts are some of the best-preserved coquina features in Florida.
FL History - Coquina's impervious nature meant that the Castillo never fell in battle, though at times it had Spanish, English, and Americans flags flying over it.

Unit 2: Ingredients of a Florida Fort 2: Quicklime

Coquina - Quicklime is the mortar used to bind coquina stones together into walls.
Archaeology - Without a limewash coating, coquina features like the Castillo are constantly subject to erosion.
FL History - Quicklime held the coquina stones together against forces as extreme as cannon fire, helping the fort to resist attacks from pirates, English soldiers, and Georgian Patriots.

Unit 3: Castillo de San Marcos

Coquina - The Castillo is the most prominent Florida structure fashioned from coquina stone.
Archaeology - This unit reviews archaeology and repairs performed at the Castillo and introduces the use of Munsell Color Charts as an archaeology tool.
FL History - Reviews the history of the building of the fort, its battles, and its many rulers.

Unit 4: Mala Compra: Life of a Florida Plantation

Coquina - Plantation houses, overseer's huts, and sugar mills were constructed from coquina stone.
Archaeology - Studying artifacts from slave ruins and from plantation houses teaches us about the life styles of the different groups who lived on plantations.
FL History - The plantations affected all of Florida's population: the Africans through imposed slavery, the Seminole through the Second Seminole War, and the European Floridians through the plantation owner's activities in the US Congress. This unit serves as an excellent introduction to "Mala Compra - How Archaeology Works."

Unit 5: Mala Compra: How Archaeology Works

Coquina - The foundation of the Mala Compra main house and overseer's house were built from coquina stone.
Archaeology - This lesson plan models the archaeological process.
FL History - Discussion of the artifacts and features found at Mala Compra give insights into the lives of early Florida's plantation owners.

Unit 6: Sugar Cane and Sugarmills in Early Florida

Coquina - The sugar mills were fashioned from coquina stone.
Archaeology - Archaeological investigations proved that the Cruger-DePeyster site was actually a sugar mill and not an old Spanish Mission.
FL History - Sugar production was one of the primary drives for the importance of slave labor in Florida history. The Seminole destroyed these mills during the Second Seminole War.

Unit 7: The Turnbull Plantation: a British Settlement in Florida

Coquina - A huge coquina feature, located in Old Fort Park in New Smyrna, was a significant building in the Turnbull Plantation. One of their canals was also lined with coquina, and their old coquina wharf is still visible at low tide.
Archaeology - English plantations were moneymaking ventures rather than homesteads, and Turnbull was one of the few to depend on indentured servants instead of slaves. He introduced a huge Minorcan population to Florida, which still survives in St. Augustine today.
FL History - Over its long life, the Ximenez-Fatio house served as a home, a general store, a billiard room, a boarding house, and a museum. In many of these aspects, it offered resources important to Florida's growing tourism economy.

Unit 8: The Ximenez-Fatio House: Florida's Coquina Hotel

Coquina - Ximenez originally built his house and nearby kitchen from coquina stone.
Archaeology - Discusses artifacts found at the house as well as conservation archaeology needed to repair water damage to the coquina structure. Discusses interpretation and learning opportunities relating to archaeology.
FL History - Over its long life, the Ximenez-Fatio house served as a home, a general store, a billiard room, a boarding house, and a museum. In many of these aspects, it offered resources important to Florida's growing tourism economy.

Unit 9: Huguenot Cemetery: Coquina Preserving the Past

Coquina - Several of the grave markers at Huguenot were fashioned from coquina stone.
Archaeology - Discusses ways that stone markers stand the test of time while less durable documents (like newspapers or death certificates) often perish.
FL History - Discusses the ways cemeteries preserve information about past events (like epidemics) and past lives (including the manager of the Ximenez-Fatio Hotel).

Unit 10: Coquina Conservation: Taking Care of Our History

Coquina - Many of Florida's coquina structures are under attack from chemical, biological, and human threats.
Archaeology - An archaeological conservator's job is to thwart these attacks and work to preserve and restore the coquina structures for future generations.
FL History - Describes the history of conservation efforts at several coquina structures in Florida, including Mala Compra, the Ximenez-Fatio House, and the Castillo de San Marcos.

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