Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to Create & Teach an Egypt Archaeological Dig Experience

Social Studies and Global Studies are so important for people of every age. Young learners are no exception. In this post you will see how I developed a learning experience that fit into a global unit study of Egypt as well as Archaeology. I will show you how to make your own archaeological dig for your children to become scientists and recreate the past. Please read this post about teaching your child social studies for a background understanding on planning ideas before introducing this to your children. For example, days before you introduce the discovery bin, expose your child to books and media on Egyptian artifacts and digs so they have the background knowledge to fully understand and appreciate the experience.

  Making Your Archaeological Discovery Bin

 You will need:
 • sand or dirt
 • small hand held rakes and shovels
 • paintbrushes
 • various sizes and thickness of sticks painted white (represent bones)
 • (you could also use cleaned, boiled bones from a chicken for a more realistic experience)
 • “bones” wrapped in cloth (mummified) • Egyptian look jewelry
 • Pottery painted with Egyptian symbols and gem stones

 During the process of studying books and videos about archaeology, we discussed why archaeologists dig up artifacts. We studied and became familiar with artifacts from Egypt and bones of the human body. (At the same time there was a dramatic play center set up as a doctor’s office and studies of body parts, x-rays and bones which helped with these connections.) At the time of the “dig” I sat with the children and had them evaluate large photos of archaeological sites.

I asked questions to encourage the children to figure out the techniques used to complete a dig. The children noticed people using rakes, shovels and brushes. We discussed that being careful and gentle during a dig is key to preserving the bones and artifacts. We observed the archaeologists laying out their finds to categorize items and put them together. This dialog helped establish rules and goals for the dig! Then it was time to become archaeologists!

The children worked together cooperatively to excavate the site. It was exciting for me to hear them using the higher level vocabulary that they had been exposed to. I offered gentle reminders about behavior and rules of course. 

As they found artifacts, the children placed them on a plastic mat. As more bones and other items emerged, some children began to arrange them into bodies! Their talents at 2 - 4 years old never cease to amaze me.


After the dig we compared our site to the photos of dig sites. We discussed our findings as they were discovered in the sand, and again after they were laid out and categorized. We looked at our books to compare our artifacts to genuine artifacts. 

Then we buried everything in the sand and now that they children had gone through the process with guidance, they were able to do this activity independently again and again!

Read more about Social/Global Studies for Children.
National Geographic Countries of the World: Egypt

from: Random House
National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt

from: Random House
Egypt - Culture Smart!

from: Random House

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