Our Lascaux Cave Project explored the essential question, “What makes us human?” Working in groups of four, 6th grade students researched and recreated different panels within the caves. Students compiled their research on Google Docs, which helped them collaborate on the written portion of this project. They investigated the history of the caves, the lives of the Magdalenian people, the purpose and significance of the paintings, and what it means to be human. In addition to each group’s expository writing piece, each student wrote a creative piece from the perspective of a Magdalenian artist. Each group then completed several drafts of the cave panels they were to recreate, eventually recreating the panels on 2’ x 4’ pieces of wood. To give the cave walls a rock-like appearance, students used insulation foam to create a cavernous texture on the wood. The final exhibition took place in the evening and the classroom was transformed into a dark cave, lit only by the flashlights or lanterns students carried. Students acted as tour guides, leading each tour group around the caves while describing the history and significance of the paintings.
The vision for exhibition night was the driving force. Students were motivated by the presentation element of the exhibition and felt responsible to their audience to learn as much content as possible. One student summed-up the collective feeling of the class, “We really had to know our information, because the people we were talking to didn’t know anything about these caves and if we told them something that was wrong, they would believe us and leave thinking it was true!” Students took their responsibility as knowledge-sharers seriously. This was a great lesson in how crucial an authentic audience is for students.
I enjoyed this project because we got to present our hard work to our principal and other adults. They saw how good we are and they got to see how professional we are in the real world. My favorite part of this project was giving people tours and answering questions.
To learn more visit: https://sites.google.com/a/hightechhigh.org/ms-drago-s-dp