Third Grade Archaeological Context Lesson Plan

Archaeological Context Lesson Plan

by: Laura Dzvonick, July 2019

Adapted from the SAA K-12 Activities and Resources on Context


Audience: Grade 3; groups of 4 to 5

Duration ~ 45 – 60 mins


Learning objectives: To learn the importance of artifact preservation and context. Build  logical thinking skills and teamwork.


Materials:        Index cards ( 30)

Color marker or crayon

Poster Board


Key terms:

Archaeology / Archaeologist




Set up:

  • Create sets of artifact cards for 5 locations. Using one card for each artifact, write or affix a picture. (Ex. A group for a dentist office would have five cards with Stethoscope, Disposable gloves, Blood pressure cuff, Eye chart, Exam table)
  • On the back of each card make a small color mark for each group. (Ex. Dentist office artifacts = blue line)
  • On the poster board create a polygon for each color
  • Shuffle cards


Introduction discussion: Discuss what archaeology is and what we can learn from it.



  • Pass out the shuffled cards to each group
  • Have students discuss what location they are studying based on the objects in the shuffled cards – 10 mins


Discuss – what helped them come to their conclusion?


  • Have the students look at the color on the back of their cards and place the cards in the corresponding color on the poster board.
  • Assign each group a color to discuss what location they might have now. – 10 mins


Discuss – What helped them come to their conclusion?




Closing Discussion:


  • Which set of artifacts were the easiest to make sense of: the first or the second? Why?


  • Would an archaeologist be able to know what was happening in a location if someone removed, or moved the artifacts?


  • Thinking of the lesson, what is the best thing to do if you run into artifacts while outside?


  • What could an archaeologist learn about you if they visited your bedroom? What things would be important?


Pictures for cards



laura 3laura 1laura 2

Doctor’s office:

laura 4

laura 5

laura 6

laura 7


laura 8laura 9

laura 10


laura 11laura 12laura 13


2 thoughts on “Third Grade Archaeological Context Lesson Plan”

  1. Very fun sounding exercise for a 3rd grade audience. I did have to study the instructions a few times, but I think I figured it out. Once I figured it out, it all became clear, but you you could have made it easier by adding more commentary.

    For instance this instruction:
    “Have students discuss what location they are studying based on the objects in the shuffled cards – 10 mins” could have said:
    “Have students discuss what location they think they are studying based on the objects in the shuffled cards. Since their study images are likely from different locations, it might be difficult for them to determine a specific location. This will contrast against the ease they can make a better determination once the cards have been sorted at the end of the exercise.”

    Finally, in the “Set up” section, you refer to a “Dentist’s” office, and then later show pictures for a “Doctor’s” office. I think you meant “Doctor’s” office in both cases.

    This should be fun for kids if used. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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