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In this social studies lab, students get to truly explore the field of archaeology!
The teacher needs to provide a number of items buried in tubs of dirt or sand. Students use toothbrushes to uncover these items. They then "think like a historian" by analyzing the purpose and symbolic meaning of the items.
Past items I have used include:
Broken ceramic animals
Halloween decoration skelletons
Picture frames with old photos
Really anything at all can be used for this lab. I like to break or take apart the items and mix them up into different bins, so different lab groups find different parts of the same item.