What could this strange object be? The third grade and high school historians pondered this question in Mrs. Petty’s third grade classroom at Lewis and Clark School. Students examined and analyzed mystery objects in an artifact analysis activity. Using their powers of observation, analysis, and inference, they tried to figure out the objects and their uses in the past.
They pondered these questions:
- What do you notice about this object?
- How was it made?
- Why do you think somebody made this?
- What do you think was happening when this was made?
- Who do you think was the audience for this item?
- Why do you think this item is important?
- If someone made this today, what would be different?
After researching an 1897 Sears Catalog, they discovered that that the mystery objects included a hog scraper, buggy steps, a twine winder, and a hat pin.
Students learned that primary sources provide a window into the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills.