Archaeological Dig

Have you ever felt like you were bugging your students’ parents to provide materials for your classroom activities?

That’s how I felt last week.  It’s especially evident at a small school that relies on the parents to help run the school! I had plans for our class to take on a new project, one that I had never done with any of my classes before: an archaeological dig.

I got the idea from the newly-purchased Colonial America unit found on I had been looking for a way to revamp my Colonial unit and this seemed like the perfect way to do it – focusing more on what colonial life was like and less on specifics of each colony.

One of the activities included in this awesome unit was an archaeological dig using soil, 2-liter pop bottles, and trinkets such as buttons, coins, beads, and other small things to dig up. I thought this was a great way to focus on how information about the past is learned while still having fun!

After a week or so of asking parents for the necessary materials, I finally got the activity ready to complete today.

The students first measured 1.5″ increments from the bottom of the bottle to the top. They connected their dots and labeled each level. I then filled each bottle with lots of soil, adding random trinkets throughout and firmly packing down the soil.

The students, split into pairs, each received a bottle, some newspaper to put on the ground under the bottle, a latex glove, a paintbrush, and a plastic knife. They were also given an archaeological journal, created from a master provided in the unit. As the students dug through their bottle layer by layer, they recorded their findings in their journal. I had them pretend to be from the future, finding items from today’s world. They had to describe the object, illustrate it, make observations about it, and think about what it might have been used for.

They had a blast with this activity and did a great job!  I’m hoping they actually learned something from it too 🙂

Not the best picture, but you can at least see the bottles full of soil with the levels marked out.

Here are two kiddos hard at work on their dig (edited for privacy).

*I have not been paid by HSITW, I just like the unit and wanted to share this fun activity with you*