Making Masks, Creating Myths, Exploring Middens
This unit weaves together three activities related to anthropology and archaeology and to diverse Native American and world cultures. Students sort and classify natural objects found on a class walk, then make their own masks from these materials. They create their own stories to explain natural phenomena and learn how ancient peoples evolved myths/stories to explain and represent the natural world. They learn that a midden is an archaeological term for deposits of artifacts earlier peoples left behind.
Then teams of students sift through “artifacts” in shoe box middens. A major scientific thread in all activities relates to inferences that can be drawn from varying evidence. Resource sheets provide information on Native American and world masks, myths, and archaeological sites.