Cultural Artifact: a term used for anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users.
If a picture speaks a thousand words, how many words are spoken by an object? We are not defined by our possessions however they do say a lot about who we are. They speak of our beliefs, our passions, and our way of life. When we look back at artifacts left from ancient civilizations we see their cultural remains, remnants of a life once lived.
How can we take this experience of exploring a past culture and make it a modern day exercise of discovery? Having students bring in personal items that have true meaning to them can be a great way of sharing who they are with their classmates. This can also give them an opportunity to reflect upon what is important to them and what things speak of who they are and what they believe.
Above you see a picture of the items that were brought into my college class when doing this exercise. Can you see something about who we are as a group? Do you see our similarities and our differences? What are our objects speaking about who we are?