Grade: Middle
Subject: History

#2119. Archaeological Dig

History, level: Middle
Posted Sun Feb 4 14:09:33 PST 2001 by Darrell Amerine (
Fern Bacon Middle School, 6th Grade, Sacramento, CA
Materials Required: shoe box, sand, glue, grid paper, spoons, toothpicks, egg carton, journals, misc. artifacts
Activity Time: 3-4 class periods
Concepts Taught: Being an Archaeologist

This lesson is great for 6th grade Ancient Civilizations.
Teacher will need to do some prep before students may begin leeson. Take enough shoe boxes home so that each group of 4-5 students will have a shoe box to do there excavation.
Make a mixture of sand and elmers glue, and a little bit of water. The sand will harden enough to hold all the artifacts in place.
Fill shoe boxes with clay artifacts that can be made or bought, along with beans, rice and corn kernals. The students in my classes asked if I could have put in animal bones, to replicate human bones. Have students plot out there shoe box on the graph paper as if they were an archaeologist, then as they locate artifacts or fossils have them draw a picture on the grid paper to diagram what they have found. Make sure that 1 student is keeping a record of the groups findings in the journal. This lesson can be wrapped up with a group presentation on a large whiteboard to the class.
Students will be excited when they begin to find there artifacts in the sand.
I filled each shoe box 3/4 full, and put soil on the top to show the students how the ground has different layers.
Be sure to emphasize the importance of good notes and good sketches to the students, an archaelogist must keep meticulous notes to preserve his findings.