My 5th grade colleagues have taken this invent-a-civilization activity even further... After each of the three 5th grade classes invented their civilizations - in TOP secret! - each student designed an artifact that would have been found in that civilization. They used Tinkercad to create their designs, and we printed on our Ultimaker 2. Each class then buried their artifacts, and the other classes acted as archaeologists to dig up and interpret the artifacts!
The role play of "archaeologist" added a huge learning element that is particularly important to me as a science teacher - how do we interpret data? And is our interpretation always RIGHT? After the classes interpreted each others' artifacts, they compared notes... How accurately did the archaeologists understand the culture? What elements of the culture were they not able to interpret? *This* is realistic science, especially archaeology: We can't always get the full picture, and new information may change our entire outlook!
Here's an example of one student's design and interpretation. In the bottom picture, you can see the intrepid archaeologists studying the artifacts!
Here are just a few more pictures of the project underway, because I love pictures.