Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Lego-Sandbox Archaeological Dig

 We have been studying archaeology, and as part of our study, we have been reading Archaeologist Dig For Clues by Kate Duke. One of the two-page spreads inspired us to make a sandbox archaeological dig.
 One page showed how archaeologist use a map of where the items were found to provide them with clues as to how the people lived...
which they then could translate into a sketch of how the scene may have looked when the items were in use.

James took the whole concept and worked backwards in order to make a Lego-sandbox archaeological dig for Quentin. James decided on a historical scene in his mind and then translated that into what we would find at a dig site today, using Legos. He even added a bit of ruins on the top.
He roped off sections of the sandbox into roughly equal sections. He then put Lego items in the sandbox to make his archaeological site. 
The student could even make a map of the site to compare with the map the excavator makes.
Now, it was Quentin's turn to be an archaeologist and find clues. 
We wanted to know if he had come up with the same conclusions as James had in mind.
Quentin put the things he found in each section of the dig in a separate baggie, so he could reconstruct the site at large.
 He carefully washed them...
 and reconstructed them.
 He then drew a diagram of what he thought the site looked like from the evidence found.
 The cleaned artifacts.
Quentin's scene

If the students each made maps, you could then compare them. How do they differ and why do you think that was? What does this tell you about the science of archaeology?
James' (age 12) history notebook page

 The last piece of this project was the documentation. I printed out some of the pictures and had them arrange them and make a page for the project.
a page from Quentin's (age 9) history notebook
I encourage them in the beginning to just write a title and then captions for the pictures that answer the question, "what are you doing in this picture?" Later on I will require them to write more on the subject until they are writing full reports.


  1. So did Quentin come up with the same conclusions?

  2. If he liked this activity he would love learning about another culture based on the archaeological evidence. I recommend Project Archaeology Invrstgsting Shelter. He will explore a real archaeological site and learn about people from the past! You can pick any shelter: a slave cabin, Plains tipi, colonial home, frontier house, and more! My students loved placing artifacts down on a large floor map and analyzing the real data. The lessons are inquiry-based and develop critical thinking skills!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means so much.