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Teaching with The Mammoth Mystery

This teacher-submitted, elementary-level activity is linked to students' use of The Mammoth Mystery. The Mammoth Mystery is an interactive feature in Just for Fun, a part of the Wisconsin Historical Society's website designed to actively enagage students to explore topics in Wisconsin history.

Author: Marilyn Penn, Royal Oaks Elementary School, Sun Prairie

Summary

This activity reinforces students' knowledge gleaned from working through The Mammoth Mystery. You will find this feature as one of the key resources in teaching the "Archaeology" entry in Interweaving Wisconsin Studies: A Curriculum Guide.

Objectives

  • Students will learn about the earliest mammoth found east of the Mississippi River and what its discovery has meant to archaeological research in Wisconsin.
  • Students will use note-taking skills as they progress through the Mammoth Mystery Web site.
  • Students will work independently.
  • Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned as they respond to specific written questions.
  • Students will work cooperatively as they share work with their classmates. 

Background

The Mammoth Mystery is a virtual narrative of how a mammoth bone in the collection of the Kenosha County Museum led to the rediscovery of a significant archaeological site in Kenosha County. The cutmarks on this mammoth femur proved that Paleo-Indian people were living in Wisconsin between 10,000-12,000 years ago, much earlier than most archaeologists had believed possible. We have introduced the Kenosha County Mammoth to students in Digging and Discovery: Wisconsin Archaeology on pages 13-17.

Procedures

  1. If you have copies of Digging and Discovery: Wisconsin Archaeology, have students review chapter 2, pages 9-18, to understand the complete context of the Kenosha County discovery. 
  2. Have individual students or pairs of students work through The Mammoth Mystery, taking notes to use for the content reinforcement/assessment activities below. The first two activities (A and B) are combined in one pdf (downloadable file) that can be reproduced as a student worksheet.
    1. Sentence Synthesis
      After students view the program, put three words on the board (i.e.: 1964, Mr. Schaefer, Kenosha County). Instruct the students to write a meaningful sentence from the three words, then compare the sentences. Other examples:
      1. Grid, bones, Paleo-Indians;
      2. Rib, Paleo, shovel;
      3. Radiocarbon, archaeologists, bones.
    2. Writing a Summary Paragraph
      Using a skeletal frame, guide students in writing a summary paragraph.
    3. The Five W's
      Place Mammoth Mystery as the middle of a web with bones labeled who, what, when, where, and fanning out from the mammoth. Instruct students to answer the questions with relevant information.
    4. The Mammoth Tree
      Provide a large outline of a mammoth. Inside the mammoth, draw a tree of blank lines. Students will write words on each line correlating with a theme. On line 1, write the name of the animal being investigated. On line 2, write the names of people doing the investigating. One line 3, write the names of tools used. On line 4, write one-word clues.

Download both activities. All activities are in pdf format. You can find information about how to get Adobe PDF Reader for free in our help section.

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