Make a Cultural Time Capsule

Social Studies

Students will make and bury a time capsule filled with materials that reflect the cultures and traditions found in their community today.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Tell students that a time capsule is a container filled with things that reflect the way of life, cultures, and traditions of a given community at the time when the capsule is assembled. Explain that the capsule is buried with the intention that it be discovered by people living at a later time, when it will serve as a historical record of an earlier time.
  2. Ask students to think about the way of life, cultures, and traditions of their community today. Then have them gather and bring to class small objects that reflect the community's current life. You may want to offer some of these suggestions for items to collect: a local newspaper; advertisements or announcements about current events in the community; recent photos of public buildings, local celebrations, and local people; small toys, games, or clothing accessories that are currently popular; a sampling of small products made in the area; and photos or drawings of animals and plant life found locally. You might also suggest that students work together to create a paper mural (using a long scroll of drawing paper) that depicts life today in your community.
  3. Place the time capsule's contents into a container and seal it. Obtain permission to bury the capsule in a place selected by the class (perhaps on school property or in a park). Let students take turns digging the hole in which the capsule will be placed.
  4. Hold a small ceremony to celebrate the completion of this project. Remind students that every time they pass by the spot where the capsule is buried, they will remember the items they have left for future generations.