Cultural Artifacts Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

This lesson plan will help your students think like cultural historians. They will learn to examine objects and artifacts to infer cultural values before creating their own researched presentations for their classmates to analyze.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define culture.
  • explain the importance of primary sources.
  • use the historical method to analyze artifacts to make inferences about their cultural origins.

Length

90 - 120 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2

Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5

Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Materials

  • Slideshow of 80s memorabilia (Sony Walkman, leg warmers, Jams, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc.)
  • 80s music recordings
  • Recordings of traditional didgeridoo songs
  • Copies of the text lesson Understanding Culture by Studying Objects & Artifacts, one for each student
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Computers for research or access to research materials

Instructions

  • Have some music from the 1980s playing as students enter the room. You might choose something like ''Girls Just Want to Have Fun'' by Cyndi Lauper or ''Karma Chameleon'' by Culture Club. If you can play this on vinyl or cassette, even better!
  • When class begins, ask students what they might presume about a culture based on its music, considering both lyrical content, instruments used, and even the format of the recording. Lead a discussion in the use of music as a primary source.
  • Play the recordings of traditional songs performed on the didgeridoo. Continue the discussion - what can the class infer about culture based on these recordings?
  • Distribute copies of the text lesson Understanding Culture by Studying Objects & Artifacts. Read through these together, stopping regularly to discuss the content.
  • Play more 80s music, and as the music is playing, slowly cycle through the slideshow of 80s artifacts. Have students silently take notes, examining the artifacts as primary sources. Consider also adding clips from 80s movies, excerpts from 80s songs, or slides of slang vocabulary used in the 1980s.
  • When you get to the end of the slideshow, return to particular images if students need you to, then move the class into groups of 3 - 4. These groups should compare notes and prepare a short presentation to the class on their findings about the culture of the 1980s.
  • Use the lesson quiz to assess understanding.

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