Museums are wonderful places for people, of all ages, to learn and explore the wonders of our world around us. So, a Classroom Museum is a wonderful task for you and your students to get conversations started, and for exciting questions to be asked.
In my classrooms, I have always had a small table, or an area in the class where I would bring random items that I find, and just leave it on the table for the kids to see. I also found some old magnifying glasses from the Resource Room. The kids absolutely loved seeing what new things would be in the class each week. In your classroom Museum, they will be able to play and explore!
I have the pleasure of teaming up with The Auckland Museum to make some Lesson Videos. Our first video is about being behind the scenes at the Auckland Museum, so I thought a great idea would be for your class to watch the Museum Video, THEN make your own classroom museum.
Classroom Museum Themes:
Here are some ideas for what your Classroom Museums could be about:
This would be an easy Theme to start off with, there are objects and items all around you, your school, home, and community. With every changing season comes a change in what nature gives us. In Autumn, you could have a table filled with different coloured leaves, and in Summer, you could have different floral arrangements. Your kids will find shells from the beach, pebbles from a river, cicada shells that have been shed, or an interesting shaped stick! The world really has no limits. All you need to supply are some magnifying glasses and you are on your way. It would be important to have a class discussion about only taking things from nature that are not being used: Not pulling branches off trees, not taking eggs from nests…
Each student would have something that is very interesting or exciting that is kept in their household. This could be a great time to learn about the history of the kids in your class. Your students could take a photo of something historic or important that is part of their family, and then bring that photo to school, with information about that item. Each photo could have a blank piece of paper with it, that can be a question section for other students. If a student wants to learn more about an item, they write their question down, then the owner of the item can go home to find the answer to the question. Just imagine all the amazing facts the student will learn about their families, as well as the history that your class can learn from a single photo.
Displays about a Book/Movie:
This could be a creative task for your class, having a museum about a book or movie that your class has read or studied. They could bring in items that were part of that story, or items that they think that the characters would have used. The Hungry Caterpillar Museum could have all the foods displayed that the Caterpillar ate, or the Harry Potter Museum could have sticks that look like magical wands, or the Three Little Pigs Museum could have the items that were used to build houses.
This is a simple, yet effective Museum theme that can pair with your Maths topic. You can have some displays of symmetrical things, and explanations of what symmetry means. Then, your students can bring in items that are symmetrical, or take photos of symmetrical things that they see in nature.
Here are some tips for creating a Classroom Museum:
- It doesn’t have to be beautiful. Children will learn whether something looks pretty or not, this is not another thing to pile up on your to-do list.
- The museum can be ever changing - Your children can bring things from home or from their weekend adventures to place in the museum area.
- If you have some spare time with your class, you could go for a walk around your school to find anything that looks interesting to them, then they can put it on the museum table?
- Kids can choose an item from the Museum area to research and write about it. This could be a great activity for a reading rotation.
- Have your Museum Area as a child run area of your class. They will love the responsibility, and that means that it is not a task for you to complete.
- Museums always have labels with their displays. Your students can make the labels about the items that they bring in to class. This could be: What it is called, where they found it, what they think it is used for...
- There could be QR codes that students can scan that will give them more information about the item.
Here is a Link from a Museum Article for tips on how to display a Classroom Museum:
Have a great time getting your Classroom Museum Ready!