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The Oldest Thing

Grade Level: K-8

Content Areas: Science, Social Studies

VT Grade Expectations VT H&SS 8: Students connect the past with the present by…

NY Standards NY Social Studies Standard 1: History Key Idea 2:

Duration 50 minutes

Students will learn to identify the approximate age of an object and sequence a collection of artifacts into chronological order.

  1. For homework, have students look around their home and try to find the oldest thing that they can bring to school. (Be sure to emphasize that they must have parental permission.)
  2. Have each student share the object s/he has brought. Have him or her describe what it is and how old they think it is.
  3. As students share their objects, discuss if the object is natural or man made, where it came from, what it is used for, etc.
  4. As each student shares his or her object, lay it out on a table from oldest to youngest according to the estimated ages.
  5. Discuss how wide a time range is represented by the collection of objects and if there are any clusters of similar ages.
  6. Discuss how we can organize time by observing the age of objects around us.

Assessment Informal assessment of participation and students' ability to describe the object they bring.

Materials/Resources Objects brought to class by students.

Special Considerations This activity will lead into a discussion of rocks, which are the oldest things anyone could bring. If none of the students happen to bring a rock in, the teacher should have one ready to put the age of other objects into context.