Teacher's Guides > Investigating Artifacts

 

Archaeology and Exploring Your Roots

Do People Grow on Family Trees?: Genealogy for Kids and Other Beginners
Mitzi and Frederick the Great
Motel of the Mysteries
My Backyard History Book
Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village
Who Do You Think You Are?: Digging for Your Family Roots
Who Put the Cannon in the Courthouse Square: A Guide to Uncovering the Past


Do People Grow on Family Trees?:
Genealogy for Kids and Other Beginners
by Ira Wolfman; illustrated by Michael Klein
Workman Publishing Co., New York. 1991
Grades: 5–12
The chapter “Ancestor Detector” tells how to trace family records, find documents, and includes general background material on American immigration and family names. With many photographs and short articles, this book is slickly designed to grab the reader. In the “Paper Chase” chapter, some of these short articles are useful such as “keeping dates straight,” “that old-time handwriting,” “the mystery of the missing days,” and “using the sounds of Soundex” about an indexing code for names used by the government.
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Mitzi and Frederick the Great
by Barbara Williams; illustrated by Emily A. McCully
E.P. Dutton, New York. 1984
Grades: 5–9
Humorous fictional account of the summer Mitzi spends with her mother and brother Frederick on an archaeological dig in Chaco Canyon, one of the most important Native American historical sites. While much of the book is about the family dynamics of Mitzi and her brother, there is accurate information on archeology and its techniques.
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Motel of the Mysteries
by David Macaulay
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1979
Grades: 6–Adult
Presupposing that all knowledge of our present culture has been lost, an amateur archeologist of the future discovers clues to the lost civilization of “Usa” from a supposed tomb, Room #26 at the Motel of the Mysteries, which is protected by a sacred seal (“Do Not Disturb” sign). For older students, this cleverly illustrated archaeological satire is a particularly apt accompaniment to the midden activities. Students construct their own inferences based on evidence from their middens, myths, and masks. Motel of the Mysteries is an elaborate and logically constructed train of inferences based on partial evidence, within a pseudo-archaeological context. Reading this book, whose conclusions they know to be askew, can encourage students to maintain a healthy and irreverent skepticism about their own and other’s inferences and conclusions, while providing insight into the intricacies and pitfalls of the reasoning involved.
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My Backyard History Book
by David Weitzman; illustrated by James Robertson
Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 1975
Grades: 4–12
A do-it-yourself history primer with activities and projects for tracing your own roots. Create a birthday time capsule, be creative with family photographs using a photocopy machine, make a family map, record family activities and memories through photography, oral history, or gravestone rubbings. Emphasizes the theme that the past is all around you and history is more than just dates.
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Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village
by Olivier Dunrea
Holiday House, New York. 1985
Grades: 4–8
This book describes a stone age settlement preserved almost intact in the sand dunes of one of the Orkney Islands, how it came to be discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, and what it reveals about the life and culture of this prehistoric community. Learning about the archaeological aspects of this discovery sheds light on archaeological techniques that students practice in the GEMS midden activities.
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Who Do You Think You Are?:
Digging for Your Family Roots
by Suzanne Hilton
Westminster Press, Philadelphia. 1976
Out of print
Grades: 6–Adult
Describes how to do primary and secondary research, to construct a family tree, and to find “problem” records for immigrants, adopted children, Native Americans or black slave ancestors, with the example of Alex Haley and his research for the “Roots” series. The author advocates looking at history in a new way, history made by your own people.
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Who Put the Cannon in the Courthouse Square:
A Guide to Uncovering the Past
by Kay Cooper; illustrated by Anthony Accardo
Walker and Co., New York. 1985
Grades: 5–Adult
How to research local history, not just people, but landmarks, battles, accidents and natural disasters, cemeteries, and other secret places. Chapters describe how to do research at libraries, museums, and interview people. An appendix includes a summary of three secondary school local history projects.
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