By paying close attention to what we see around us, we can begin to understand how things work and how we might actively design change. Alien Archaeologist helps us ignore what we think we know so that we can see more clearly what’s right under our noses!
The year is 3985. You are an alien archaeologist whose mission is to study human activity of the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture that was left behind on Earth. The objects before you are all that remains of an unknown, and rather odd civilization.
Each team receives one object. Your team’s job is to record your observations, then deduce each object’s purpose. Examine your object and list as many physical characteristics as you can: texture, color, size, shape, weight, material choice, connection methods, structure, aesthetic, age, cost, etc. As a trained scientist, of course you understand the importance of holding back judgment until you’ve made thorough observations, knowing that there are usually hidden details that will lead to more informed guesses.
What was the purpose of this object? How did humans on earth use it? What did they use it for? It’s less important to correctly guess the function than to be able to support your guess with evidence based on your observations.
Once everyone has made their guesses, each objects’ purpose is revealed. As a group, discuss the decisions that the object’s designer made so that it would fulfill its purpose and be easy to use.