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3D Digital Artifact Collection

Teaching with Artifacts: Lessons Ideas Part III

Native American Ration Card Pouch 

This lesson invites students to take a look at the clash of cultures and asks some questions about how we carry the past forward as conditions change around us.

Ration card pouch artifact.WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
1. Super Zoom image of the ration card pouch
2. Photographic image: Ration Card

EXERCISE:
1. Project the Super Zoom image of the ration card pouch from the collection.

  • In groups, have students analyze and describe the object.
  • Have them write down their observations on paper so that they can share with the entire group later.
  • DO NOT ACCEPT GUESSES OR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IT MIGHT BE AT THIS POINT.

2. Have the students report their findings to the entire group. Be sure that you write their observations and descriptions on the board. (It is usually best to make a list)
3. Give the students the dimensions of the object: 3.5” X 3.0”

  • ASK: HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THIS ITEM WAS USED?
       (WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ITEM?)

4. Give the students the date that the object was made.

  • ASK: HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THIS ITEM WAS USED?
    (WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ITEM?)

5. Provide the students with the photographic image: Ration Card

  • Have the students analyze this and describe it.
  • Description:
    Weekly Ration Check
    From the 1870s
    Lists: Name of Tribe and Agency
             - Band Number
             - Family Number
             - Number of Men, Women, Children and the Total
             - Numbers at the bottom indicate the # of individual items issued.
  • Why do you think the Bureau of Indian Affairs would want this information?
  • Tell the students: THIS ITEM IS APPROXIMATELY 3.0” X 3.5”

6. RETURN TO YOUR ORIGINAL QUESTION:           

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK THE POUCH WAS USED FOR?

7.  EXTEND STUDENTS’ THINKING:

  • WHY WOULD NATIVE AMERICANS UTILIZE TRADITIONAL ITEMS TO CARRY AN ITEM THAT REPRESENTS AN END TO THEIR TRADITIONS?

8. ARE THERE EXAMPLES IN OUR DAILY LIVES OF US DOING THE SAME OR SIMILAR THINGS? 

ARTIFACTS TEACH

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EXPERT OPINION

  • “Every object has a story to tell if you know how to read it.”
    – Henry Ford
  • “Dealing with objects is a great way to teach the different steps involved in analyzing different kinds of materials. With just a little background, you can get students to engage with entirely new materials in extremely fruitful ways.”
    – Anita Nikkanen
    Harvard University
  • “Using objects helps students develop important intellectual skills.”
    – John Hennigar Shuh
    Curator, Nova Scotia Museum
  • "Whenever I used objects in my EFL classroom, I was surprised by how many questions I would get. I was especially excited when students who usually sat quietly were tempted to ask a question based on my object.”
    – Jenny Wei
    Specialist, National Museum of American History
  • When we examine the parts, we get a new perspective on the whole. There is nothing like holding a dinosaur bone, or the smell of cedar baskets…”
    – Burke Museum
    University of Washington, Seattle WA
  • “Every object has a story, right? Actually that’s a bit limiting. Every object has multiple stories.”
    – Rob Walker
    designer of Significant Objects and How They Got That Way

Teacher Questions