Over a dozen artifacts (created by the 4/5 teachers) from a shipwreck off the coast of the Bahamas (hypothetically) were on display in the Hub for our class to examine. In pairs, the children hypothesized at the uses and place of origin of each item ranging from pineapples to a flay displaying the symbol for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
After touring this "museum" we discussed three main questions:
1) What artifacts might reveal what conditions or experiences might be like for the explorers?
2) What artifacts might show what an explorer might have expected on his trip?
3) What were some of the motives for explorers to venture to the Americas?
Strange movements and animal noises filled the classroom on Thursday. What's going on? Acting out Charlotte's Web, our class read-a-loud? No...it's Rafa, Rafa.
Nel and our class were divided into two groups. Each group was instructed in a new and different way of living. Our class was called the Alpha Culture, Nel's group the Beta Culture.
The people in the Alpha Culture are fun loving, superstitious and honor their elders. People in the Beta Culture are hard working, businesslike, foreign speaking, and do not like to be close to one another. Once the members of each group have learned the rules of their new culture, observers were exchanged. Observers "travelled" to the other culture and tried to learn about it by listening and watching.
The visitors came back bewildered and confused by the strangeness of the foreign culture. With their notes, they reported back about the habits, communication (verbal and non-verbal), rituals, etc. of the other culture. Next, we sent half the class to the Alpha culture to try to "fit in." Some students found it frustrating while others saw it as challenging and exciting. Sound familiar...just like traveling to a foreign country, huh?
This simulation lays the groundwork for our next unit of study. Over the next few months, we plan to ask our students to consider various perspectives when we investigate exploration, colonization, revolution as well as the meeting of European and Native American cultures.
After two weeks of research, creating replica of artifacts, drawing maps, and recording audio-tours for the Native American cultural regions before 1492, parents, teachers, and students from other classrooms were treated to a multi-sensory learning experience. Each student proudly showed off their knowledge and artwork of the tribes they studied.
Audio-tour of each exhibit can be accessed through this website: