WHAT IS ARTIFACT ANALYSIS?
Artifact Analysis is one of my favorite activities to put in front of my students. By nature, artifact analysis is an inquiry-based collaborative learning activity, and it is extremely powerful to watch unfold.
I designed this Shang & Zhou Artifact Analysis to introduce students to the achievements and values of Ancient Chinese society during the Bronze Age. As such, the guiding question of the Artifact Analysis is: What do artifacts from Bronze Age dynasties teach us about Ancient Chinese society? This is a very general question, but feel free to adjust the guiding question to best fit your curriculum and focus.
HOW DOES ARTIFACT ANALYSIS WORK IN THE CLASSROOM?
While in small groups (3-5), each student is given this packet with 5 artifacts from the Shang and Zhou dynasties along with a graphic organizer (or, if computers are available, all artifacts could be viewed by students on the computer). The graphic organizer helps students record the details about each of the artifacts and their ideas about the guiding question. At the end of the activity, I have each group synthesize the findings in their graphic organizer, and then orally share out their final answers to guiding question. Based on your time allotment and other classroom factors, the share out could happen in multiple ways: a whole class discussion, a jigsaw share out/travelers and tellers, or a Socratic Seminar.
In addition to the picture of the artifact and text description, I have hyperlinked each artifact and uploaded the document as a docx so you can feel free to edit text or change the guiding question as needed. On the hyperlinks, a few of the artifacts have audio and video components, which you can include (or not!) in your classroom study.
I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine do! Please feel free to reach out with any questions.