A historical artifact has stories to tell. Using artifacts, from primary documents to objects that can be held in the hand, is a motivational 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 makes wise use of classroom time. Both students and teachers will find that artifacts contribute to integrating and learning across the curriculum. Fiction and nonfiction titles along with relevant websites are tied to several accessible historical artifacts to model options for using this motivational approach in the classroom.