Build Your Own Time Capsule
Did you know there’s a time capsule in Japan that will be opened in 5,000 years? In 1968, two Japanese companies, Panasonic and Mainichi Newspapers, agreed to undertake a joint time capsule project in celebration of the Japan World Exposition in 1970. It will remain buried near Osaka Castle for the next 5,000 years. There are 2,090 items in the capsule that were chosen by a team of scientists, engineers, and historians that reflected everyday life in 1970. Items included false teeth, a glass eye, insects encased in resin, an origami instruction book, handcuffs, counterfeit money, and letters from elementary students.
After learning about famous time capsules, have students create their very own personal time capsule to lock up and discover in the future. There are seven parts of the time capsule project, including where they tell about their favorite things, important people in their life, and what they want to be when they grow up. They will even write a letter to kids in the future telling them all about what the world is like right now! Part six is collecting photos or small objects to place into their time capsule. I usually use a 9 x 12 envelope to collect all of the writing pieces and their secret stash. I have students write their full name and graduation year on the front of the envelope and decorate it. Then, we do a desk a rotation activity to make sure that everyone signs their name on the back of the envelope so they remember who was in their class.
Part One: Introducing Me
Part Two: In My World
Part Three: The People in My Life
Part Four: My Favorite Things
Part Five: A Look into My Future
Part Six: A Secret Stash
Part Seven: A Letter to Kids in the Future
Create Your Own Country Project
- Have students come up with a name for their country. I encourage them to base it off their name or a combination of the letters in their names, if it’s a group of students.
- Review major landforms, such as mountains, deserts, volcanoes, rivers, seas, oceans, and islands.
- Next, look at a variety of different types of maps to compare similarities and differences. Ask the students questions like: “All the maps we’ve looked at today were alike in some ways. What did you notice about them? What were some of the main differences?” Be sure to discuss map keys, a compass rose, map symbols, colors, etc.
- Have students create a map of their country on a large poster paper or a piece of white butcher roll paper. In pencil, have them label all major landforms, cities, capitals, and bodies of water. They also should add a map key and compass rose.
- Have them color the maps: green for land and blue for bodies of water. Colored pencils or crayons work best.
- Next, have them create and design their country flag. Attach a Popsicle® stick for a stand-up flag.
- For older students, you could also have the students create “Country Cards” with factual information about their country, including natural resources, housing, schools, climate, language, traditions, and other interesting cultural facts.
- The beauty of this project is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, depending on the amount of time and interest of your students.
Invent Something New
- What makes an invention great?
- Why do some inventions become famous and others flop?
- What’s a problem that you’ve noticed?
- How would you fix it?
Turn it into a research project. Have students choose an invention to research and learn more about. Then, create a mock model of the assigned invention or a PowerPoint presentation to teach the rest of the class all about it.