Creating the Past: Understanding Artifacts
Objectives: Students will be able to:
Skills Addressed: Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Spatial.
Interdisciplinary Connections: Anthropology, Archaeology, English/Language Arts, History, Visual Arts.
Length: Two fifty-minute class periods and two homework nights.
Materials: Internet access, found objects (made of paper, wood, cloth, etc), substances (such as coffee, glue, mud, paint), scissors and other tools.
Products: A weathered remnant of the 19th century that could have belonged to George Catlin for the class museum.
Content Introduction: This lesson focuses on the significance of material culture—the day-to-day objects surrounding individuals—to help students better understand the point of view of those living in Catlin's era. Students will develop a greater awareness of the things surrounding them and will be able to build a bridge between their own material culture and that of an imaginary figure from the past. Students will also learn more about the process objects go through as they wear. This can lead to a discussion of conservation techniques as students become comfortable with the idea of "artifacts" as old, worn objects providing unique information for interpreting the past.