Archaeology Information Hunt

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TSWBAT use select text from the book Archeology, by Dr. Jane McIntosh, to engage in an informational hunt supporting comprehension and the sharing of findings.

Big Idea

The Jigsaw strategy is hardly archaic...lots of information will be shared today!

Warm Up

10 minutes

Breaking down the term ARCHAEOLOGY (also written ARCHEOLOGY).

Inform the students that the origin of the word they'll be tackling today is 2000 years old.  We have abandoned the archaic (pun intended) idea of having kids memorizing spelling lists, and instead give them a great foundation with Greek and Latin roots.  This initial activity feeds directly into that shift and the students are receptive.      

*Teacher Note: It's from the Greek words archaios (ancient or old) and logos (word or speech).  To the Greeks, the words together meant "discussion" or "study of ancient things."

On the board, write the root words ARCHAIOS and LOGY and the kids brainstorm words they know that include these roots.  My kids always have a much bigger list with the 'logy' side of things.  Many are aware that when attached to a word, LOGY means the study of, but be sure to bring it out in the class discussion if it doesn't get mentioned.

ARCHAIOS-archaic, arch, architect, archive, arctic, etc.

LOGY-technology, yogurtology, biology, geology, meteorology, trilogy, paleontology, etc.

Write a master list on the board for discussion that concludes with ARCHAEOLOGY meaning the study of ancient things/studying material objects from the past.

With Common Core Standards, acquiring and using high level academic vocabulary is imperative. The fact is, when you introduce an unknown word then highlight its roots, the students aren't memorizing high level terms...they're learning those words from their core.  



35 minutes

Present these quotes for the kids to ponder: 

"Archaeology is the only discipline that seeks to study human behavior and thought without having any direct contact with either." Bruce G. Trigger, archaeologist/author

"It's interesting to see that people had so much clutter, even thousands of years ago.  The only way to get rid of it was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up." Karl Pilkington, humorist

The class is aware that archaeology is the study of objects from the past, so how do these quotes relate to that definition?  They relate in the first one because "no direct contact" implies that the author is talking about the past.  In the second quote, it's a funny take on how people had their own version of too many objects in the past, as we do now.


The Eyewitness Books are fabulous resources because they are divided into convenient sections the kids can easily read, comprehend, and present to others.  With CCS, the students must read informational texts to build background knowledge in content areas, so we want those to be engaging texts.  I make copies for each group and give them a graphic organizer to systemize their findings.

"Today we will dig deeper into the meaning of archaeology using the informational text, Archeology, one of the Eyewitness Books. After introducing and modeling Detecting the Past, each group has a specific topic from the book relating to archaeology.  Using the Archeology 5Ws and H, hunt for the answers within those pages." It's important that the kids cite their evidence from the text and do so in their own words.  This early in the year, it would be a good idea to present a lesson on, or discuss the meaning of plagiarism.

Reading Selections: Detecting the Past (each group analyzes this one), Preservation and Decay, Underground, Walking Among the Past, Digging up the Past, Investigating Daily Life. There are twenty-six different sections from which to choose.  The five additional ones I selected made the most sense for our lesson.

It should be noted that these groups will be changed within the next few days if you choose to do the next lesson, "Cluster-Up Archaeologist Style."  I mention this because you'll want to conclude this activity while the kids are in these current groups.

After the groups conclude their findings, they take turns presenting the information and reading their summary statement to the class.  This is the way they are able to jigsaw their information and share with the class.




5 minutes

I evaluate the 5Ws and H graphic organizers from the second article (only) read by the students that was used in the Application section. 

With the first section (Detecting the Past) they watched me model and worked with their groups.  This combination has it's place, but is not evaluative for me in this instance.  Once they have read their second topic (ex: Investigating Daily Life) although they discuss as a group, analyzing is completed by the student individually.  I'm able to evaulate this for accuracy in citing evidence, and completing the assignment thoroughly.