We did one of my favorite social studies projects at school. My third graders love this. They are old enough to come up with good, thoughtful idea, but not so old that they figure out all of my artifacts too quickly.
After learning about artifacts being a primary source in your social studies curriculum (we use McGraw Hill in my 3rd grade classroom) students are ready to become archaeologist. They will explore one of your collected ‘artifacts,’ record information and details about it, and make a guess for the item’s intended use.
I usually group my students in partners for this. Each does their own paper, but they share an artifact and talk about their ideas together. I love to listen as they talk it out.
You will need to do a little digging and collecting to find some items to use as artifacts. Keep an eye out at garage sales, search your kitchen drawers, sewing box, garage, yard barn, craft room, tool box, etc. I found most of my items during an initial search and have added a few new pieces slowly over the past few years.
Here are the items in my artifact box:
One of my students’ favorite parts is when I tell them what the item really is after they present their ideas. You can sure create the items you need for this project on your own, but I've got everything you need all put together in a product in my shop, From The Hive.
You find the artifacts and I've got the rest covered. I've included detailed teacher's notes, an informational piece about artifacts as primary sources, and a recording sheet.