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NHMU: Thinking About the Past

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


In this activity students will use a personal item to understand and share the importance of their past. Students will also connect this importance with reasons why all human past is important.


  • Have each student bring to class an object that represents their past. If they cannot bring in the object they may substitute a photograph or drawing of the object.

Background for Teachers

Archaeological sites and artifacts can be our link to the past. If we learn how to read these artifacts we can understand the people who made and used the objects. Even though the creators of the artifacts may have lived hundreds, even thousands, of years ago they probably had many of the same basic needs and concerns that we have today.

Instructional Procedures

  • Divide students into small groups of 3 or 4 children. In the small groups have the students share with each other what their object tells about their own past.
  • Bring all the groups together and in a class discussion address the following questions:
    1. Is it important for you to know about your past? Why or why not?
    2. Is it important to know about all human past? Why or why not?
    3. Humans have lived in Utah for at least 12,000 years. Is it important to know about their lives? Why or why not?
  • Ask the students what we can learn from the past. Have the students brainstorm ideas.
  • Have students discuss what about their past is important to them and how important they think the past is in general.


Intrigue of the Past Activity Guide; 1992.

This lesson plan was provided by the Utah Museum of Natural History.

Created: 11/04/2004
Updated: 01/20/2018