Saturday, August 17, 2019

Reflection: Artefact Historique: The Mystery of the Tombstone

Here is the first lesson I taught the 8th grade American History this year. I wanted to share something of me with them and introduce them to historical artifacts. 

I gave the students time to examine the artifact and write questions they could ask me about it. Most of them asked me good questions but were not happy when I could not answer them to their satisfaction. I explained that while I didn't know much about the tombstone, I did have some educated guesses which is really what most historians do. 

I think most of the students enjoyed the lesson, there were a few that asked silly questions though. It is hard to read the room on the first day of school, even when I know the students well from last year. 

This is an activity I would do again next year, but the tombstone was really, really heavy so I probably won't revive it, my back might appreciate it more that way. 

Photo by Me
This is a tombstone that resides in my yard. It has been there as long as I can remember (45+ years). Today we will be looking at this artifact and try to learn as much as we can about it.

Your assignment is to come up with 20 questions that I will be able to answer with a yes or a no. I will then answer 20 of these questions for you. You will then write down everything you know about this artifact. 

I will finish by telling you all I know about this artifact, and some of the conclusions I have drawn about it. Will what you write match my story?


  1. Love that you launched your class with mystery and historical questions. Artifacts are underused in class and are a great way to engage students in questions. I also like the fact that you didn't have a definitive answer in the end so that they see that the past is usually not "clean"

    1. Thanks for the comment. I definitely made the point we dont always find out the whole story. In a class that is 'fact' driven, that message can be disruptive.