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Family Artifact Research Project

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Keywords: primary, secondary sources, research
Subject(s): Social Studies, Geography, History
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: St Mark's Cathedral School, Shreveport, LA
Planned By: Leigh Lewis
Original Author: Leigh Lewis, Shreveport
Family Artifact
Research Project

The Family Artifact project is an introductory project for sixth graders to begin their life long journey of research, writing and presentation. The students will evaluate the differences between primary and secondary sources in both documents and artifacts. Each student will choose an object that is special to their family- a primary source. The project will begin at home with the student and their family member discussing a family artifact.

Step 1: The students will journal the decision making process of selecting their family artifact. The student will need to evaluate three (3) artifacts before making their final decision. The journal will document three different artifacts, 1st -their importance to your family, 2nd – can information be obtained to research the project, i.e. is the person still alive who owned the artifact, 3rd – can additional outside information be obtained to research to show the history or the artifact and/or the person it belonged to?

Step 2: The student will make their decision on the artifact they choose to research. In a class session the student will present a summary of his object and discuss his decision making process. This presentation will be a 1-2 minute speech during class; the student will introduce his/her artifact. The student may bring the artifact to show to the class or a picture.

Step 3: The student will begin writing his/her paper following the outline below:

Report Outline:
I. Opening Paragraph ( seven – ten well-constructed sentences answering the questions below)
a. Background about you and your family in relationship to the artifact being presented.
b. What is your families genealogical background – where are you from?

II. Introduce the object. ( seven – ten well-constructed sentences answering the questions below)
a. Description- Describe your artifact – how does it look, where was it made, color, material, how old is it, is it one of a kind, etc.
b. Who does/did the artifact belong to? How are you related to the owner, is the person still living, if not when and where did they die, give specific biographical information about the owner. Add personal stories or antidotes that are significant to the artifact or the person.
c. Why it’s special to your family? Give your opinion about why you feel this artifact is special.

III. Historical importance ( seven – ten well-constructed sentences answering the questions below)

a. Historical significance/purpose of the object – research from a historical point of view what the importance of your object in the world, not just in your family. Find creditable sources online, in print or from oral history and document your findings. Sources will be cited in MLA format. This requirement will be completed a total of three times (3) for section III part a.b.c.
b. Historical significance/purpose of the object.- see above
c. Historical significance/purpose of the object. –see above

IV. Closing ( five -seven well-constructed sentences answering the questions below)

a. How did the research of this artifact make the object even more special or important to the student? Be specific: document feelings, finding and new understanding of the artifact and family relationships.
b. Create a conclusion that brings all of the research process from the journaling to the historical significance to cohesive close.
The 3D printer would be used to replicate the family artifacts. The replicated artifacts would then be able to travel and be displayed along side the students narrative about the project. The complete works would then travel to other classes and/or schools to share the experience with other students.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Language arts, art,
Present the complete works of the class to the parents and relatives of the students. Each student shares a part of their history with their class and create a cohesive collaborative program showcasing all races. cultures, and religions.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Video Cameras, Digital Cameras, Auditorium, Microphones, Video Tools, Printers, Headsets, English/Language Arts, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Social Studies, Books, Word Processor, Keyboarding, Authoring and Publishing, Web Page, Slideshow, Student Resources
Other Items: 1 3D printer, $1200. each, total of $1200.00
3 rolls of plastic , $25 each, total of $75.00