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dig Parent's / Teacher's Guide

China (November / December 2003)

Teacher Guide prepared by: Leslie Anderson Morales.
  • To show students the relationship between scientists and non-scientists
  • To understand personal and social factors that influence decision-making in scientific research
  • To develop creative thinking skills
Each archaeological excavation is a complex project involving many people. Each project is based on a central research question. The research question is tested by the scientific method that includes these steps:
  • Describe the problem.
  • Gather information.
  • Suggest an answer.
  • Perform an experiment.
  • Make observations.
  • Draw conclusions.
Select an article from this issue.
  1. Identify the key question. Describe how the scientific method was being applied. How do scientists approach their investigation? List the questions that they might be asking.
  2. Describe the excavation site -- include its location and geographic characteristics. Who are the people involved in the project? Does it include scholars and citizens?
  3. What have we learned from this excavation?
The Chinese government controls excavation sites and conservation.
  1. List specific ways that the government carries out these activities.
  2. Why do you think the government has taken on this responsibility?
  3. What are the alternatives?
  4. How does the government benefit from this control?
  5. How do the nation's people benefit?
  6. Can you think of any drawbacks to this arrangement?
Liangchengzhen was uncovered in 1936. It is the largest Longshan settlement in the area. Many houses were built directly over earlier homes.
  1. How do archaeologists know this?
  2. How and why do you think this occurred?
  3. Why would people do this?
  4. How could this get in the way of archaeological discovery?
When Anna P. Underhill was in graduate school, very few foreigners knew anything about Chinese archaeology. In fact, she knew almost nothing about China. Underhill's professional goals had roots in her childhood. She grew up wondering how and why modern society developed.
  1. What are some of the things you wonder about?
  2. If your success were guaranteed, what would you try to do?
  3. What steps are necessary to reach your goal?
  4. What obstacles might be in your way? What could you do to overcome them?
  5. Do you know anyone who does what you would like to do?
Design an article of silk clothing - or a complete outfit. Write a story or draw a picture of it. Use paper, paint, or fabric (even silk!) if you like. Tell us about your creation.
  • Was it a gift? A purchase? Something you made?
  • What does it feel like? What does it sound like?
  • Where do you plan to wear it? What will you do when you get there?
  • What do you like about it?
You have just been given a huge responsibility: You must plan, design, and construct a tomb for a rich and powerful person. If the client is satisfied with your recommendations, your professional success is guaranteed.
  1. Get to know your client and create a biography.
  2. What precious objects will be placed in the tomb?
  3. Where will the tomb be located?
  4. What will it look like?
  5. What would the tomb be built of?
It is important to remember, tombs usually include more than one person's burial.

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