Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moundville Artifact Cards Match Activity

I made this activity from the information and photos I found on the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian Collection website, and I completely recommend that you check out that website! Everything for the activity is included in this Moundville Artifact Cards Activity.
How to Prepare the Activity:
For each group in your class (4-6 students), make one set of cards:
  1. Print the cards from the Moundville Artifact Cards Activity onto white cardstock.
  2. Laminate the cards, and cut them apart.
  3. I recommend that you mark the back of the cards in some way to distinguish each set. Write an "A" on the back of all of one set, "B" on the next set, etc.
  4. Separate each set into picture cards (the ones with pictures) and catalog cards (the ones with words). Each set of cards will need a baggie to store the picture cards and a baggie to store the catalog cards. I recommend marking the baggies the same way you mark the back of the cards (For example, if you marked the back of the cards in a set with an "A," the two baggies for that set would also be marked with an "A.").

How I Use this Activity:
  1. I give each student a Moundville Museum Artifact Guesses Sheet. I explain to the students that each group will get a set of cards with pictures of real artifacts from Moundville, but the cards will not say what the items in the pictures are. The students have to guess what is in the pictures, and they write their guesses on the "Guess" side of the table on their worksheet. 
  2. I give out the cards, and the students can discuss with other members of their group as they guess if they would like. Depending on your students, this part of the activity could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
  3. For the second part of the activity (which sometimes ends up taking place the next day), I give out the catalog cards, too. The students have to try to match the pictures to the descriptions in the catalog cards. Inevitably, they discover that they have to work as a group for this part, but I have never told them to do so. I let them spread out in the floor if they want. After they think they know which cards match, I ask them to write their new "educated" guesses in the "Museum Guess" column. [If pressed for time, you can ask them to just write the catalog numbers in the top right corners of the catalog cards.]
  4. There is more than one way to do the last part of the lesson.
    1. You can go to the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian Collection website, and demonstrate how to enter a catalog number in the search box to find the picture of that item. Let students find the rest of them on their own in the computer lab, and write the answers in the "What they really were..." table. If you do decide to try this method, you will need this hint - After you search for the catalog number, it will pull up a page full of items. You have to look through the list until you see your catalog number under a picture. If you click on the picture, it gives a lot more information than the catalog card. Sometimes it even tells the story of how the object was found; the items were not always found by archaeologists, you know. :)
    2. Since I am always pressed for history time, I just call out the correct matches. The students write the correct answers to their incorrect guesses in the "What they really were..." table. [I could let them write all of the correct answers in that table, but it seems a bit much doesn't it?]


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