This is an excellent, jigsaw-type, collaborative activity to use as an introduction to the epic poem Beowulf. Essentially, students break into groups to look at only the Prologue and Parts 1 and 2 of the epic poem. Each group takes on the part of an anthropologist/archaeologist "digging" back into the past to learn about the world of the Anglo-Saxons. Each group receives a different set of questions about Anglo-Saxon culture to respond to by seeking out answers from the Beowulf text. Students then report their findings/ discoveries about Anglo-Saxon culture to the class. This is an excellent way to get students involved in active inquiry into a text. I typically do this activity BEFORE I give them any notes at all on Anglo-Saxon culture because I want them to see what they can discover on their own first. This activity is easily followed with a writing assignment in which students describe their findings using textual evidence. Included here are questions for 8 different groups per class (of course, in reality, you may have more groups per class, so you can simply repeat some of the questions amongst groups-- it's perfectly fine to see how two different groups approach the same questions because they will undoubtedly make different observations). Great way to get into the Beowulf story!
This item is part of my MEGA BEOWULF BUNDLE that includes 25 lessons and activities with answer keys! You can find the ENTIRE bundle here: