Third-graders at Cornwell Avenue and George Washington elementary schools were tasked with identifying “ancient artifacts” by using their observational skills as part of the Hofstra University “Art Travelers Through Time: Literacy and History Through Art” program.

According to the university’s website, the program provides elementary school students and teachers the opportunity to connect their classroom study of “Communities Around the World” to the study of authentic cultural objects from the museum’s large and diverse collections. These artifacts, and the experience of reading them closely, engage students in the discovery and creative thinking processes, supporting the development of essential 21st century skills and reinforcing classroom learning.

Throughout the program, third-graders engage in three separate interactions with museum educators. The first interaction began in November when Hofstra University Museum educator Elisa Bruno and graduate students Danielle Giovannitti and Brittany Kahn visited both schools to educate students on what observational skills they will need when they examine artifacts in the university’s museum. 

During their visit, Bruno, Giovannitti and Kahn presented four artifacts from circa 1915 for the third-graders to determine what the artifact was and its purpose.

Using their observational skills and magnifying glasses, students were encouraged to examine the color, shape, size, hardware, mechanics and details of the artifact, including manufacturing dates stamped on the bottom and features indicating years of use. Students then recorded their findings and discussed them within their group to determine what they thought the artifact was. 

Concluding the visit, each team presented its findings to the whole class, with all four groups making enough observations about the details of the artifact to correctly determine the object’s modern-day equivalent, despite it not resembling today’s toasters very much on the surface. 
Third-graders will complete the program with a visit to the Hofstra University Museum, where they will examine artifacts, and conclude with a follow-up visit from museum educators to reinforce the program’s theme and concepts learned that further connect with the school’s curriculum.