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Detectives of the Past: Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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Summary

Students will demonstrate basic skills in analyzing artifacts. Students will demonstrate deductive skills by drawing conclusions about a culture based on its artifacts.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America The Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate basic skills in analyzing artifacts.
  • Students will demonstrate deductive skills by drawing conclusions about a culture based on its artifacts.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Grades

  • Ninth grade
  • Tenth grade
  • Eleventh grade
  • Twelfth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

  • Archaeology
  • Artifacts
  • Archaeological sites

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse
  • Reverse
  • Prehistory
  • History

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector or other classroom technology
  • 1 overhead transparency (or equivalent) of each of the following:
    • “Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter” page
    • “Did You Know…” page
  • Copies of the following:
    • “Detectives of the Past” worksheet
    • “Detectives of the Past” answer sheet
    • “Detectives of the Past Rubric”
  • 1 class map of the United States of America
  • Access to video clips of Chaco Canyon
  • Age-appropriate materials for student research on the Chaco culture, such as Internet sites, videos, textbooks, reference materials, and other texts
  • 1 computer with Internet access
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Access to a computer lab
  • Highlighters
  • A box of transparencies or multimedia tools

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Detectives of the Past” worksheet (1 per student)
    • “Detectives of the Past Rubric” (1 per student)
  • Make overhead transparencies (or equivalent) of the following:
    • “Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter” page
    • “Did You Know…” worksheet
  • Bookmark a video of Chaco Canyon.
  • Have paper, markers, highlighters, and transparencies ready for class use.
  • Reserve computer lab for session 3.
  • Bookmark Internet sites that focus on Chaco Canyon culture.
  • Prepare chart paper for the beginning of session 2.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/114.pdf.

  1. Discuss with the class what they know about archaeology and what an artifact is. Include questions about the responsibilities of an archaeologist, what constitutes a dig, how a site’s grid is established, and the ways artifacts are dated. Record responses on chart paper.
  2. Review any famous archeological sites that were discussed in previous lessons. Note any similarities and differences that exist among the sites of Egypt, India, and China.
  3. Display the “Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter” overhead transparency. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® program for background information. (The program is described at www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/atb/). Explain that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and “obverse” is another name for the front. With the students, examine the quarter’s design.
  4. Display the top part of the “Did You Know…” page, which features: “Prehistory and History.” Discuss the key points.
  5. Display the rest of the “Did You Know….” page on “Chaco Culture Excavation.” Lead the class to state the importance of this archaeological dig. Emphasize the fact that this excavation, in its early stages, yielded thousands of artifacts for archaeologists to examine. All artifacts were prehistoric and therefore required extensive study.
  6. Show the class the bookmarked video of Chaco Canyon. While the video is playing, have students record five main ideas. Have students present these main ideas in a class discussion following the video.

Session 2

  1. Review the previous class session, focusing on the main ideas that students gathered from the video. Place the class into groups. Have each group determine who its presenter, encourager, and director will be. (The director will keep the group focused and moving in a timely manner. The encourager will reassure the group of their efforts. The presenter will summarize the group’s findings in the class discussion following the completion of the assignment.) Each person in the group will be their own recorder. Students have the benefit of the group’s analysis but are challenged to stay on task.
  2. Each group is to act as archaeologists who were part of the excavation team that initially uncovered the Chaco Canyon. Present each student with the worksheet “Detectives of the Past” and “Detectives of the Past Rubric.” Students are to analyze the artifacts in column 1 and then complete the second column without doing any research. They are to draw their own conclusions about the Chaco culture.
  3. After the groups have completed their assignment, have the presenter from each group summarize their findings and then present them the class. Record the groups’ findings on chart paper in a 3-column format like the worksheets.

Session 3

  1. Display the charts from the previous session and review the information. Have the students pay attention to not only the scientists’ findings but also their methods and accuracy.
  2. Take the students to the computer lab to research the accuracy of their predictions.
  3. Students may work individually or in pairs depending upon the number of computers or resources available.
  4. Students will continue to use their worksheet “Detectives of the Past” to complete the third column of the sheet. Have the students research the same questions they answered in column 2. These answers will be based on the findings of archaeologists who have studied the Chaco people for decades.
  5. When the students have completed the third column, have them individually or in pairs analyze the differences between the two columns. Have them mark with a highlighter the conclusions in column 2 that were accurate based on their research.
  6. Focus on the class chart from the previous session. Discuss the findings that were accurate and those that were erroneous. Mark with a highlighter those conclusions that were accurate from the research of this day’s session. The final discussion should center upon the methods and accuracy of archaeologists.

Session 4

  1. Review the information from the previous session.
  2. Explain to the class that around the year 1140, this complex social system unraveled and collapsed. Some of the population moved to new areas while others didn’t survive. Ask students what may have caused this decline. Write the information and question on chart paper.
  3. Divide the class into four groups. Each group is to research the assigned areas of investigation: geography/climate/geology, daily life/subsistence, technology, and trade.
  4. Each group is to prepare a written report on the topic assigned, summarizing its investigation, and providing illustrations. Pictures are to be printed and shared with the entire class. As an option, students may create multimedia presentations to present their information. Included in the summary must be the answer to the question “In the area the group researched, what would explain the decline of this complex society?”
  5. Upon completion of the research, the class will come together in a large group session. The presenter from each group will summarize the findings, show the pictures through transparencies or multimedia, and then answer the question of what caused the decline of the Chaco culture.
  6. After the presentations, collect the printed pictures and summaries. Collate them into a scrap book and make individual copies for the students.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to have extended time if needed.
  • Allow students to use a scribe to complete their worksheets.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students create cave paintings to explain the exodus of the Chaco people from their settlements in Chaco Canyon. Students may then exchange these cave paintings and write explanations, as archaeologists, about their interpretation of these drawings.
  • Have students create picture books and summaries of the Chaco culture to read to lower grade level students.

Technology Extensions

Have students create a video commercial attracting tourists to Chaco Canyon.

  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class.
  • Evaluate the students’ worksheets and projects for understanding of the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the final project.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.9-10 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.9-10.7. Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • RI.9-10.8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
  • RI.9-10.9. Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.9-10 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.9-10.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
    • Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
  • W.9-10.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
    • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.9-10 Language
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.9-10.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use parallel structure.
    • Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.
  • L.9-10.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses.
    • Use a colon to introduce a list or quotation.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.9-10 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
  • RI.9-10.5. Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
  • RI.9-10.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.9-10 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RI.9-10.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RI.9-10.3. Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.9-10 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.9-10.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
  • SL.9-10.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
  • SL.9-10.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9–10 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.9-10 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.9-10.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.9-10.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 9–10.)
  • W.9-10.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.9-10 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.9-10.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • W.9-10.8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • W.9-10.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work [e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare]”).
    • Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning”).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Knowledge to Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Culture and Cultural Diversity
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand and apply the concept of culture as an integrated whole that governs the functions and interactions of language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behavior patterns
  • enable learners to analyze and explain how groups, societies, and cultures address human needs and concerns
  • guide learners as they predict how experiences may be interpreted by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference
  • encourage learners to compare and analyze societal patterns for transmitting and preserving culture while adapting to environmental and social change
  • enable learners to assess the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups
  • have learners interpret patterns of behavior as reflecting values and attitudes which contribute to or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding
  • guide learners in constructing reasoned judgments about specific cultural responses to persistent human issues
  • have learners explain and apply ideas, theories, and modes of inquiry drawn from anthropology and sociology in the examination of persistent issues and social problems

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Time, Continuity, and Change
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand that historical knowledge and the concept of time are socially influenced constructions that lead historians to be selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use
  • help learners apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
  • enable learners to identify and describe significant historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, including but not limited to, the development of ancient cultures and civilizations, the emergence of religious belief systems, the rise of nation-states, and social, economic, and political revolutions
  • guide learners in using such processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and interpret the past, such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, searching for causality, and distinguishing between events and developments that are significant and those that are inconsequential
  • provide learners with opportunities to investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment; and enable learners to apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features