Following the excavation of student-created artifacts from The Dig, a hallmark of the Grade 5 program in which students act as archaeologists and develop imaginary cultures for discovery by classmates, students created museum exhibits to share what they had learned about each other’s respective cultures. The Dig is emblematic of the type of experiential, rigorous, and engaging projects that we believe enable students to apply the big ideas and skills taught during a unit of study or area of the curriculum.
Working together with their classmates, students deciphered what they could from the artifacts they unearthed and identified important information about elements of another group’s culture, such as language, number systems, art, and economy. Just as museum curators do, the Grade 5 archaeologists wrote descriptions to place on placards near the salvaged artifacts. They carefully arranged their artifacts in the Great Hall, with each civilization represented in its own exhibit.
Knowing that the Grade 3 students learned about archaeology during their study of Jamestown, Grade 5 students invited their younger schoolmates to visit their museum. Since current Grade 4 students did not have the opportunity to take this museum tour last year, they too were invited to visit this year’s exhibits. Not only was this an opportunity for Grades 3 and 4 students to apply what they had learned about archaeology when reading about the Grade 5 civilizations, it also gave them a glimpse of what is to come when they are in Grade 5 and become the creators of civilizations!