Fourth graders dig up history in their classroom closet

At the Children’s Workshop School in New York City’s East Village, a fourth grade classroom’s closet has been turned into an archeological dig site. Inspired by a book his class had read about a migrant farm worker who found old coins in a field, one of the students, 10 year old Bobby Scotto began looking for treasures of his own. Starting with the gaps in the closet’s floorboards.

His first efforts unearthed wheat pennies (which haven’t been minted since 1958), a buffalo nickel, and decades old candy wrappers.

It wasn’t long before he and his best friend implemented a few simple tools and the rest of the students caught on.

The classroom teacher, Miriam Sicherman, rather than shutting it down, saw in their excitement an opportunity for learning.

And so began an improbable exercise in hands-on archaeology that soon attracted all 21 students in the class. “There’s something about the degree of difficulty that’s just perfect,” said the class’s teacher, Miriam Sicherman, 43, who has been teaching at the school for 15 years. “You can’t just reach in and grab something, but it is possible to get something. There’s just enough gratification.”

Since the start of the project, the students have found dozens of pieces of ephemera which they’ve connected with lessons in history, research, preservation, and documentation.

See the gallery of treasures on their instagram account.

Read the full article on the New York Times: Young Treasure Hunters Dig Up History Lessons in a Classroom’s Closet – NYTimes.com