Activity Plan for Leave What You Find

Exploring Natural Settings and Archaeological Areas

This activity should take about 60 minutes.

What Your Group Will Learn

After participating in this activity plan, which is designed to help participants learn about the value of leaving natural features and cultural artifacts undisturbed, participants will be able to

Your participants will imagine themselves as part of a futuristic science mission returning to Earth to uncover the secrets of our planet's ancient inhabitants. Participants will try to construct a picture of a vanished people based upon the objects they find.

Materials and Preparation


Gather old camping items such as a tent peg, old frying pan, piece of rope, burnt wood, blackened rocks, a child's toy, an ax, and a bullet shell, or cut pictures of these items from magazines or newspapers. Use your imagination to add other items. Have one object for each person. If conducting this activity inside, you may want to place the items on a bedsheet to protect floors.


Grabbing Your Group's Attention (10 minutes)

Explain to participants that they are traveling in the year 2172 on spaceships returning to Earth. They are on a science mission to find out how earthlings lived hundreds of years ago. You may want to use a prop, such as a model spaceship, to embellish the story. Two different science teams will visit Earth. What will they find?

Steps for Teaching the Activity (30 minutes)

Beam Me Down

Break the group into two science teams. Explain that two teams will take turns visiting the planet. One team will "beam down" to observe the site while the other waits inside.

Have the first team view the objects and site without picking up the artifacts. Tell team members to remember their initial impression of the site and be able to describe what the people who lived here were doing.

After viewing the site, have each member of the first team pick up one or more of the objects and hide it so it is not visible. This leaves only half the objects to tell the archaeological story when the second team arrives.

Beam down the second science team, and have its members look at the site and the remaining artifacts. Have each person from this team pick up an artifact. Tell them to remember their initial impression of the site and be able to describe what the people that lived here were doing.

Do the following:

Return to the site and discuss what later explorers might think about this site. Ask participants the following:

Wrapping Up the Activity (30 minutes)

Your participants are great scientists! Your group knows the importance of leaving items that they find in their natural setting. A group discussion will help determine how well each person has learned the value of this lesson.

Congratulations on conducting a well-prepared meeting for your group!

Additional Activities

Teaching Leave No Trace