An Artifact Review challenges and motivates students to analyze significant artifacts (text, pictures, quotes, primary sources, maps, charts, media, etc.) through inquiry by observing, questioning, researching, and drawing conclusions. Use this strategy when presenting an unfamiliar artifact individually, in small groups, or as a whole class.
- Gather an artifact (or a variety of artifacts), relevant and significant to the current unit of study. Artifacts may include text, pictures, quotes, primary sources, maps, charts, media, etc.
- Introduce the artifact(s) and prompt students to identify as many objective facts as they can, such as author, creator, date, place of origin, materials, size, shape, color, etc.
- Invite students to interpret the artifact(s) by asking them to infer the purpose, use, or importance of the artifact(s), supporting their inferences with evidence whenever possible.
- Ask students to reflect upon the investigation as a whole to draw conclusions about the artifacts, and how and why this particular artifact (or set of artifacts) is significant to the current unit of study.
- What are some wonders you have about the artifact(s) you reviewed?
- How did reviewing the artifacts help you better understand the subject matter?
- What new learnings do you have as a result of the Artifact Review?
- This strategy works well as a way to activate prior knowledge or pique the interest of learners at the beginning of a lesson or unit of study.
- Pair this strategy with Double Entry Organizer, Alphablocks, or See-Think-Wonder so students can track their reactions, thoughts, connections, and wonders.
- Consider organizing several artifacts into folders or containers for students to share or pass around the classroom. Digital folders might be a viable option for your learners as well.
- Consider allowing students to illustrate and label the artifact(s) as a way to carefully analyze all the parts and pieces.
Students analyze water sources and land elevations on maps of different regions of the United States that illustrate the influences on settlement patterns and consider how specific crops or livestock ended up in the regions represented.
In a Level 1 class, students read an authentic menu from a restaurant from a place in which the target language is spoken to compare and contrast it to American restaurant menus.
Present multiple sources with supporting question(s) as guidance to determine if the source is relevant and useful to answer the question(s).
Provide student work samples (names removed) that illustrate different ways a particular problem was solved. Ask students to analyze the different problem-solving methods and be able to explain how each one works and why.
HEALTH & PE Education
Students review various boxes of grocery store food items, analyzing nutrition labels, photos, illustrations, and ingredients lists in order to identify items with a healthy balance of macronutrients.
When looking at data for the first time, students point out things they notice or see. Then they interpret what they’ve noticed by explaining what it means and how it helps them support an idea or explain a phenomenon.
Fuhler, C. J., Farris, P. J., & Nelson, P. A. (2011, November 9). Building literacy skills across the curriculum: Forging Connections With the Past Through Artifacts. International Literacy Association. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1598/RT.59.7.4
inquirED. (2020, June 14). Artifact study: Inquiry lesson plan strategy. inquirED. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from https://www.inquired.org/post/artifact-study