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Digital Time Capsule

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Keywords: art, photography, digital photography, time capsule, community involvement, history, future
Subject(s): Art, Photography, Social Studies
Grades 9 through 12
School: Winfield High School, Winfield, WV
Planned By: Erin Crouch
Original Author: Erin Crouch, Winfield
To begin, students will need to understand what type of information could be included in a time capsule. Students will research past time capsules using the internet. (Wikipedia has some good information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_capsule) Students will also contact the International Time Capsule Society, based at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia to see if they would be willing to provide any useful information for the construction of our digital time capsule.

Second, the students will use upper level thinking skills to comtemplate the type of items that should be placed into a time capsule. According to time capsule historian William Jarvis, most intentional time capsules usually do not provide much useful historical information: they are typically filled with "useless junk", new and pristine in condition, that tells little about the people of the time. Many time capsules today contain only artifacts of limited value to future historians. Historians suggest that items which describe the daily lives of the people who created them, such as personal notes, pictures, and documents, would greatly increase the value of the time capsule to future historians. (from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_capsule on 5/22/09). WIth this in mind, students need to come up with a list of things to include in their time capsule.

Next, students will be given a digital camera, digital camcorders, and/or digital voice recorders. They will be asked to artistically portray (using the elements of art and principles of design that we have studied frequently prior to this is class) their daily lives, the lives of their families and the lives of those in our community.

Then the students will need to seriously contemplate and discuss the method of saving digital images for the future. What format should they use? Should they print out the images onto photo paper? Should they save the images on a USB drive? Should they save the images onto a CD? If they do choose to save the images onto a CD, should they include a computer with a CD-Rom so people in the future would be sure to still have a way to view the images? Don't ask them these questions, but let them explore these issues for themselves. What do they think life may be like in 50 years?

Finally, where should they place their time capsule? (Burying isn't the best option, for obvious reasons) They need to think of creative and interesting places. Do they need a marker? Should they create a statue? What type of container will they use? Could they create something artistic that represents our community? Tell them to think BIG. Then, see if they can make it happen. The students will then contact the proper community leaders. If their ideas are too extravagent, then they will have to go back and rethink.

The students will try to involve the community as much as possible. Should they have an art show to showcase their photos before they place them into the time capsule? Should they have an auction of copies of their photos to benefit local food banks? Should they make copies or should the only copy be the one in the time capsule? Should they make copies to be hung in the county courthouse? Should they create a digital slideshow of images and sounds and show it at a community event? Let students think about this and make the decisions. You may be suprised at what grand ideas they have!
Links: Wikipedia
International Time Capsule Society
Materials: Whiteboards, Video Cameras, DVD Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Digital SLR, Projectors, Portable, Digital Voice Recorders, CDs and DVDs, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Memory Cards