Thursday, August 29, 2013

Archaeological Dig!

Today was an exciting day at Williford Academy.  We are still on the Introduction in Story of the World and to go along with the Lesson I created an Archaeological Dig.  It did take some preparation on my part, but the boys really enjoyed it.  Here's the breakdown of our Lesson for today:

The mom of our little friend who does history and science with us bought the Story of the World Vol 1 Audio Book.  Although I have the book - this was awesome to use.  I do a lot of read alouds and having a break is great - this mom can only do so many different voices!  So we first listened to the  Introduction: How do we know what happened? "What is Archaeology? (pgs 3-6)  Then we did the review questions and answers aloud in the Activity Book (pg 1).  This takes (maybe) 10 minutes - so not a lot of time at all.  I like to find at least one extra book (usually a library book) to go along with our lesson and chose this book.  

*We enjoyed this book.  It had great pictures and tons of information on what Archaeologists do.  I highly recommend it!  

It took about 20 minutes to read the extra book and then it was time for Archaeological Dig!  Earlier that morning while the boys were doing their free reading, I set up the dig (you could do this the day before, but I was being a procrastinator!)  We put a pool in Summer so I had my hubby leave a pile of sand in our yard just for this project.  You could just leave the sand on the ground, but I wanted to have it in a container.  One day on the way to the store there was a small pool on the curb of someones house.  My original purpose for shoving the pool into the my hatchback was to have a small pool for the kids to rinse their feet when they go from the trampoline to the pool and back - but this pool had quarter size holes drilled all over the bottom.  It quickly came to mind that I could use it for my dig which was great since I already had the thing half way in my car when I saw the holes and did want to make the walk of shame and put it back. So the general set up for my dig I had.  Now for the details. So I ran around this morning searching for items for the boys to find buried in the sand.  I had bought a couple of things at thrift stores for the dig.  See that clay cup - found that for $.29 and knew it would be perfect to break up in pieces and reassemble.  I also found the 2 wooden dinosaur skeleton sets at another thrift store for $.49 each.  I know you can get these at the dollar tree -  they are a little smaller and thinner wood, but will certainly work.  I put these sets in baggies so that they wouldn't lose any pieces. Along with these items I buried: A Fork, earring, silver bracelet, two hot wheels, pair of chopsticks, and 3 marbles.  After burying them all over in the pool, I took twine and made a grid on the top of the pool (I just taped the twine ends over the edge of the pool).  I then gave the boys a shovel and a little gardeners spade to dig with.  Towards the end of the summer Kroger had their grilling accessories marked 75% off (costing me $.49) so I snatched up a package of 2 tin grill pans (they were square with the holes in the bottom) which were perfect for sifting the sand.  They spent a good 15-20 minutes digging and sifting and discovering all their treasures! We had 8 baggies labeled 1A-E and 2A-E and each thing they found in that square went into the baggie.  After we found everything they set it all out on the trampoline to record.  I had a clipboard for each boy that had a sheet of paper with a circle (I traced a small plate) and grid lines to match the pool drawn onto it.  The boys labeled each part of the grid and then drew a picture of each item in the baggie from that section.  We then headed back inside for some much needed AC and water.  Once inside we pulled everything out of the baggies and talked about what each one might say about us if an Archaeologist found it in the future.  We took all the pieces found of the clay cup and tried to piece it back together.  About a 1/8 of the cup was not found - which was a great example of how a lot of items found at digs are not complete.  Word to the wise - plain old Elmer glue doesn't cut it....we used tape to reinforce inside - but I would recommend hot glue.  After this we took on the monumental task of assembling the dinosaurs.  This took an average of 30 minutes!  I know it wouldn't have taken nearly as much time if we had the cheaper dollar tree sets - but these did make great models and are very sturdy!  My little man was very proud to show my hubby when he got home - and it now sits in his room on his shelf with all the other items he has deemed "special". 

Here's our picture diary of our dig.

We did our dig in the late morning, so by the time we got the dinosaur models together it was time for lunch.  While we relaxed in the livingroom eating lunch we watched "The Magic Schoolbus Shows and Tells: Archaeology" on Netflix.  If you don't have access to Netflix you can always read the book or you can watch the video here on youtube.


Also, here is a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode on youtube about Archaeology that would be good to use with this lesson although we did not get to it.

I fully believe that kids (adults too) will absorb more information by using multiple senses in learning.  A study was done at the University of Texas and they found that people remember : 

10% of what they read;
20% of what they hear;
30% of what they see;
50% of what they see and hear;
70% of what they say; and
90% of what they do and say

I try to always have that in mind when creating our lessons.  So at the end of the day the boys had heard a story, read and followed along in another book (with wonderful illustrations), watched a movie, discussed the subject (I ask what? when? where? why? questions while doing all our activities) and best of all they actively participated in a dig.  That's what learning is - just layer after layer of exposure to something.  It is so wonderful to see it just "click" for my little man during one of the activities.  

So, that was most of our day - always an adventure!

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