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Walk 3: Time Detectives has recently been added to the Philosophers
Forum. Check it out at --
This site has a great idea in the Classroom Forum portion of this
selection for the creation of Evidence Kits. I have taken the idea and
adapted it for my sixth grade students. Even though it is an optional
activity, I already have at least half of my students signed up to
participate. Below is the way I have presented it in my class:
To learn about the past we need to be time detectives, putting together
clues and using different kinds of evidence. With that evidence, we can
imaginatively reconstruct the way things looked. This activity will
engage students in inductive reasoning -- reasoning from a variety of
pieces of information to arrive at a generalization. In this case,
students will use items or descriptions of items to generalize about how
a particular site may have looked. Drawing from their experiences in
this activity, students will also note the power and pitfalls of
This optional assignment will require students to complete the
1) Work in pairs to create Evidence Kits. Each pair will secretly
select a site from a nearby location. Students will make a kit with at
least ten items which provide clues or evidence describing the locale
(always explain the assignment requriements and get permission to gather
data). Evidence kits will be examined by another randomly assigned
group to describe and identify the local site.
2) Student Evidence Kits should include items (you are not required to
buy anything) or descriptions of items that someone might discover one
or two hundred years from now, when the site might not exist any longer
or at a time when it may be greatly modified. Drawings or photographs
of parts of the site, diagrams, maps, and writings would be useful. For
reference consult information relating to Trajan's Forum
where archaeologists utilized visual and written records to gather
information and make inferences about the site.
3) Student Evidence Kits will be randomly exchanged and sites will be
identified. Each pair should record how well the various items helped
them in their efforts to identify the site. Determine the piece of
evidence they believe was crucial in their investigation, as well as the
evidence that assisted least in the process. Compare and contrast this
process with the methods used by archaeologists at Trajan's Forum.
4) Students will meet to discuss the findings with the members of the
group who examined their evidence. All students involved in this
activity will meet to review the experience.
My child, , has permission to participate in this
optional activity. Parent signature .
THE EVIDENCE KIT SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY:
Students have a couple of weeks to work on this experience. I'll fill
you in with the results. Some students have already enthusiastically
moved ahead with this assignment.