Looking for a new idea for a social studies or history class project?
A time capsule may be the perfect idea. This project is a good way to discuss current culture and what future generations might want to know about life in 2014.
All you need is a secure, water tight safe to store the items and some creativity. A safe that is large enough to hold the contents you've collected is the perfect receptacle for a time capsule. It needs to be solid enough to stand the test of time. One that can be buried safely underground is always a good plan.
Make a plan regarding how long you want your time capsule to be sealed.
When will it be opened and by who?
Where will you store your time capsule?
A letter should be written and left somewhere in a safe location in the school office.
Explain who should open the capsule and when. For example: "Time capsule to be open by a fourth grade class in October of 2034".
Then give the exact location where the safe is buried.
Ask your students what they would suggest putting in the time capsule. What do people think they can't live without? What are they constantly carrying with them?
Here are a few suggestions:
A letter explaining who you are and what you're hoping to accomplish with your time capsule.
A cell phone. Future students will laugh at this archaic form of communication.
CD's of current music.
DVD's of popular films and television shows.
Newspapers and magazines.
Copies of popular books.
A binder with price tags and labels. In the same way it's hard for us to believe a bottle of coke or large candy bar used to cost a nickel; it will be interesting for future consumers to see the prices we currently pay. Catalogs are another option.
Students may want to provide samples of their own creativity. Video tapes of each student talking about their day to day lives is a good option. Students a hundred years ago will wonder how today's students survived in such a primitive civilization. However, this may depend on how long you want your capsule to stay buried. In the future they may have no way to play our forms of digital recordings.
Photos are also good. Students with their families, their pets, their homes.
Since food items will perish, students might want to take photos of what they usually eat for lunch or dinner. They might want to make a video showing what they pack in their lunches every day.
Not only will food items perish, but they might also attract wild animals who would then dig up the capsule. So NO food!
Also, never put anything liquid in the capsule. It can leak and ruin the rest of the contents.
Personal diaries are another good option. A day in the life of an average student in 2014 will be of much interest to someone in 2064 or 3014!
Whatever you decide to place in your time capsule; make sure it's in a container that will keep the contents safe for the future.
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