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I have just been catching up with some of the most recent e-mails.
There have been some great ideas associated with the "Time Detectives"
type lessons. The suggested lesson which follows is not really aligned
with the time detectives concept of digging up the past, but it is
another slant on the use of artifacts. As a getting acquainted activity
at the beginning of the school year, we do an activity called
"GARBAGE-OLOGY" = the study of garbage
My students are entering the sixth grade. They are coming to me from
two different elementary schools--this lesson activity works well to get
them to meet and become acquainted with new people.
• Each student is provided with a large paper bag
• That evening for homework, each student is to put 5 items into the
give clues about them. The items selected should be obscure and not
obvious. These items are their garbage--analyzing someone's garbage
a lot about a person.
• The next day all of the bags are collected and redistributed. (The
items inside should NOT have the name of the student.)
• Students receive another student's bag, analyze one item at a time,
prepare a brief presentation hypothesizing what they think the
about the person and their garbage. They may even try to guess who
• The process of sharing and presenting the "garbage artifacts" is
until everyone has a chance to contribute.
• Bags are returned to their owners.
• A discussion of the process, findings, and experience follows.
• Many times, new friendships develop out of this experience.
Oftentimes, to explain and model this activity (this is done before
telling the students what they will be doing) I give each table group
one lunch bag with an item containing a clue about something related to
me. They must come to consensus as to what they think the artifact
means and share their ideas. This allows them to learn something about
their teacher and it also clearly demonstrates how the "Garbage-ology"
lesson will proceed.
Hopefully, someone will find this lesson to be useful in their own