Lesson Plan

Let's Be an Archeologist

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Grade Level:
First Grade-Fifth Grade
Subject:
Anthropology, Archaeology, History
Duration:
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Colorado Social Studies:
1st grade 2.2; 2nd grade 2.2; 3rd grade 2.1
Keywords:
archeology, artifact, midden

Overview

Students will learn about the reasoning methods of archaeologists and gain insight about a culture by making their own inferences about the people who occupied an archaeology site.

Objective(s)

Students will learn about the reasoning methods of archaeologists and gain insight about a culture by making their own inferences about the people who occupied an archaeology site.

Background

Archaeologists could be considered archaeo-dumpster-divers (although you might not want to use that title in person). They sift through the surviving remnants of ancient cultures-which is mostly trash. Looking through middens (ancient refuse heaps) can tell one about the materials used by the people and can lead to further insight. Middens can reveal what people ate, how they collected their food, what kind of clothing they wore, and how they built their homes.

Although searching through a culture's trash may explain many mysteries, there are many that remain. What stories did they tell? What songs did they sing? What myths did they believe in?

In this activity, students will pick up litter to learn about our own culture and draw conclusions based on those observations.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web page on History and Culture to learn more about early peoples of the dunes area.

Materials

Paper, pencils, an outdoor setting where litter is to be found, gloves, trash bags

Procedure

Assessment

Review the observations and conclusions students made about the 'artifacts' they discovered during their archaeological survey. Because we are part of this culture, we know much more about how we live than the artifacts suggest.

  1. How is the story told by the artifacts incomplete?
  2. Which important cultural aspects are missing from the conclusions we made?
  3. Were our conclusions accurate?
  4. Since archaeologists primarily examine the materials left behind, what cultural aspects may be missing from archaeologists' conclusions?

Vocabulary

archeologist, midden