Our Unit of Inquiry called, “where we are in place and time” uses artifacts to help the children ask questions about the past. The goal is more about learning to ask questions and be inquirers than it is about the artifact. The artifact, however, is an interesting way to help children develop their curiosity and wonder.
Today, I placed an artifact in a box and asked the children to think about what questions they can ask to find out about the past using the artifact. I am looking for questions like, ‘what is the artifact made from?’; ‘where does it come from?’; who does it belong to?’; ‘how old is it?’; ‘how do you use it?’ instead of ‘what is it?’ They will want to say, ‘I think it is…’ but that is not a question and we do not need to know what it is yet. Tomorrow, we will make a list of their questions that will help us when asking questions about each other’s artifacts. Tonight, feel free to show them this photo and help them come up with some good questions that will inquire into the background of the artifact and how it relates to the past. In a couple of days you can ask your child some questions about what was inside the box to develop their learning about questioning.