Imagine you are on a camping trip in a state or national park. Your camp is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and above you is a deep blue sky. The wind is blowing in gentle, gusting breezes as you hike along. You stoop to pick up rocks of many shapes, sizes, and colors. You wonder about the rocks' names, how they were formed, how long they have been on the earth. One of these rocks you now hold in your hand. Examining it closely, you notice its edges look broken, just like your mom's pottery vase you broke last summer. Its surface feels smooth and cool and is covered with a geometric pattern.
Suddenly, you realize you have found something special. You remember learning about pottery made by the early peoples of North Carolina and about how archaeologists study these people from their artifacts. You are sure you have found an ancient piece of pottery. You want to keep the pottery sherd so much and you slip it into your pocket. Your heart beats with excitement. You want to run back to camp to share your find. Then you stop yourself. You know artifacts are to be left where they are discovered.
Sitting down, you become very aware of your surroundings. Pottery fragments are scattered here and there. The wind blow gentle breezes through the trees. Crows call to each other. The hot sun warms your back as you gaze out over the landscape. You remove the sherd from your pocket as your mind begins to wander back in time to the village of the ancient people. You are there among the people watching them at their daily activities. In the shade of a tree you see someone making stone tools. A small child watches intently. The rhythmic sounds of meal being ground on a stone can be heard in the distance. In the shade of a storage room, a potter is skillfully creating a clay pot. Small children run about calling to each other.
(Give the students 2 to 3 minutes to do their own dreaming.)
The sound of a crow's call nearby brings you back to the present. You lay the potsherd back where you found it, feeling good about your decision. Before you leave you make a sketch of the potsherd to hang on your bedroom wall.