Sunday, October 18, 2009

Artifact [ar•ti•fact]

An artifact according to my computer's dictionary, is "an object made by a human  being, for example, a tool or ornament, especially one that has archaeological or cultural interest."This week the East End Art Studio considered the folks who painted the caves near Lascaux, France and what type of artifacts we could expect to find there.   We talked about everyday objects we encounter. And we discussed ornamentation and how it enhances our daily lives.
We even had a chance to make some of our own artifacts - using some of the things that the early people of Lascaux might have had available to them for making objects and ornaments.  Because we didn't have time to use rocks to cut up the material we used scissors, but there was no tape, glue or staples to help fabricate the artifacts.
Students put their imaginations to good use and came up with useful objects and attractive ornaments.  These are the humble resources the students used for creating their artifacts:

Lava Rocks

They even named them and documented them with tags in the way an archeologist might identify an artifact.

To get the ball rolling students were asked to consider the purpose for three artifacts that had been made by myself and an art mom.  The brainstorming began and the ideas for this first item included feather duster, paint brush, fly swatter, pointer, writing implement, hair ornament, pin,
toothbrush and whisk!

This second” “artifact” was presented as a necklace but inquiring minds came up with a multitude of useful ideas, such as  belt, wall hanging, headband, over-the-shoulder protection, medicinal amulet and animal trap,and an identification for secret orders of club members!

The last “artifact” presented a stimulating discussion and challenge. Ideas included bird perch, wall hanging, a rack for hanging small items, an interchangeable handle, a musical instrument, exercise equipment and handheld game. 

Ideas spilled out for every item with nearly every hand in the air to identify each item's purpose. Students enjoyed wearing their archeologist hats and eagerly moved on to take on the role of artifact artisans. They employed some pretty incredible problem solving skills to create imaginative and creative artifacts.

I've posted the results below from our sixth grade Gate class and Mrs. Foltz's third grade class.  These artifacts should be finding their way home soon.  Ask your student about their process.