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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

Creating the Past: Understanding Artifacts

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Imagine the day to day objects in the lives of people from the past (Catlin's lifetime).
  • Examine the good and bad choices of historical figures.
  • Define the concept of choices and consequences.
  • Present pre-organized ideas orally to a group.
  • Use visual sources to illustrate concepts learned from historical narratives.
  • Think of owned objects as extensions of personal identity.
  • Write in the persona of a historical figure to gain insight into that figure's strengths and weaknesses.

Standards: U.S. History, English Language Arts.

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.

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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

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