We Use Research and Storytelling
To Help Students Reach Deeper Understandings

  • What is Discover Hidden Treasure?

Discover Hidden Treasure is a family heritage learning activity designed for classroom use through collaboration among the History and Preservation Association of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, the Community Partnership Development Foundation of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. with cooperation from the Kansas State Department of Education.

This hands-on, performance-based activity encourages students to explore their own family heritage and history through examining objects the family values. Through these historical artifacts, students will gain an understanding of who they are, where they came from, and how they got here, teaching students to appreciate history.

  • What can students gain from experiencing this family heritage learning activity?
  1. Artifacts contribute to integration for learning across the curriculum
    “Artifacts are the touchstones that bring memories and meanings to life. They make history real.1” The use of three dimensional objects as primary sources is a motivational teaching strategy that brings a period of history to life. Motivated learners think critically, write, collaborate, develop research skills, and deepen knowledge about another time and place. In addition, they apply cognitive skills in using content area texts more effectively and efficiently. Supported by a strong theory base, this approach of using artifacts to stimulate learning makes wise use of classroom time. Through incorporating this hands-on method, teachers find that artifacts contribute to integration for learning across the curriculum.
  2. Students apply 21st Century Skills
    Students develop and apply each of the 21st Century Skills, especially Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, as they write and perform a first person narrative developed through interactive discussions with family members and classmates. Also, they will benefit as they discover personal history and their role in the community and world, both past and future.

1Steven Lubar and Kathleen Kendrick, “Looking at Artifacts, Thinking About History,” Artifact & Analysis: A Teacher’s Guide to Interpreting Objects and Writing History, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.
Retrieved from Smithsonian Education Idealabs on January 5, 2013.

Program Goal

Students will gain an understanding of who they are, where they came from, and how they got here, developing in the process an appreciation of History and key ideas that are central to Language Arts.

Program Objectives

Students will:

  1. With the help of an elder (probably a family member) identify an object that has value to their family

  2. Examine the artifact closely and describe it in writing

  3. Interview one or more elders to learn why and how the artifact was kept in the family, why and how it came to its present location, and the meaning it has had for those who have owned it.
    • Develop a direct-address first-person narrative as someone involved in the history of the artifact
    • Determine who to “become” to tell the story and determine the setting of the narrativeResearch the historical context of the family and the object
    • Write the narrative script
    • Present the narrative to an audience
  4. Write a reflection on the understanding gained in the process of discovering a family’s hidden treasure and sharing knowledge learned.