Creating a Digital Museum Exhibit

Creating a Digital Museum Exhibit

Summary

In this lesson, each student puts himself/herself into the shoes of a museum curator. The teacher provides the students with a variety of primary and secondary sources dealing with the Revolutionary War and the students research the origin and importance of these documents in the context of the Revolutionary Era. The students use their research to create digital museum exhibits that discuss the important people, places, events, and effects of the Revolutionary Era.

Students use a variety of digital tools throughout the assignment to facilitate the learning process. During the research phase of the project, students Skype with a museum curator from the Virginia Historical Society, use Google Forms to collect, organize, and analyze information, and use internet research techniques to locate authoritative and accurate information. Based on the desired look of their digital museum exhibit, the students choose a digital presentation tool (including VuVox, Dipity, and Meograph) and then embed the exhibit into a class website. The students view and critique each other’s work, reflect on their own product, and use the information gathered by the class to learn about the Revolutionary Era.

Note – The teacher SHOULD NOT provide the students with any SOL content knowledge prior to or during the assignment. This assignment is intended as student-centered activity, where the students can demonstrate their knowledge of history SOLs through research and self-discovery.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal – 7

Research and information fluency are the major focus of this particular assignment. This assignment allows students to practice historical research methods that a true “historian” might use while writing a book or creating a museum exhibit. Although the majority of the student research is conducted online, this project allows students to see research as an ongoing process and practice historical research skills. Constructing research questions is essential for any historian, as it determines the focus of his/her final product and helps him/her locate the most relevant information. Within this assignment, students practice constructing questions in multiple places. At the beginning of the assignment, the students create questions for a museum curator on three different topics: Research, historical content, and museum audience engagement. The students vote on the best questions using Quia and then use these questions as the basis for a Skype conversation with a curator. Students also develop research questions when posed with a variety of primary and secondary documents. For each document, the students determine how to use internet search resources and tools to properly identify the document and then place the document in the context of the Revolutionary era.

Another historical research skill that students practice over the course of the assignment is selecting accurate, appropriate, and relevant information.  Students learned source evaluation techniques at the start of the year, but learn several new techniques throughout the course of this lesson (through their Skype conversation and teacher demonstrations). These evaluation techniques not only help the students to create a historically accurate museum, but also ensure that the museum exhibit is engaging for the audience. Students select resources and materials based not only on content but engagement and interactivity.  In selecting the most appropriate information, students practice their synthesis skills. This synthesis of information is displayed in the students’ final exhibit, which allows viewers to read and also interact with information in a variety of ways.

Ideal – 7

Before beginning the group portion of the project, students establish group norms and roles using the Group Planning Guide. The teacher does not assign specific roles, instead allowing the students to determine the most effective and efficient method to complete the project. Throughout the project, students use digital tools to communicate and collaborate with their group members. Students share their research templates using GoogleDocs and email accounts and use Web 2.0 tools such as Meograph and Dipity, which allow multiple people to edit the same product. These tools allow the students to collaborate with their peers regardless of whether or not the students are at school. Students assign each other homework throughout the project (using a class Google Doc), and complete their assigned tasks at home or during the school’s APP (study hall) time. Digital tools also allow the students to communicate with outside experts. Skype allows the students to engage in a conversation with a local museum curator, who answers student questions on exhibit creation and lends advice to students before they begin their project. At the end of the project, the students complete self-evaluations and group evaluations that allow them to reflect on their communication and collaboration skills and perfect these skills for future assignments.

Ideal – 7

The problem for this particular assignment is to tell the story of the Revolutionary War, given a limited amount of resources from which to begin researching. This is very much a real-world problem, as historians and museum curators face this type of problem on a frequent basis. Students select the most appropriate search techniques to uncover the identity of each of the primary and secondary documents located in the research template. Once students identify a document, the hard word begins. The student must create new search terms, apply new search techniques, and synthesize a large amount of information to help determine each document’s relevance to the American Revolution. In other words, the students must determine how each document helps to “tell the story” of the American Revolution.  Within the museum exhibit, students must justify their inclusion of information and images in the same context – Does it help to tell the story of the American Revolution? After researching the primary and secondary documents, the students select the appropriate digital presentation tools to complete the final task.

Ideal – 7

This assignment blends technology and personal choice so that students generate new products and ideas. Students choose various tools and presentation methods (Meograph, Vuvox, Scratch, etc.) based on the desired outcome and finished product. Because the teacher does not provide any direct instruction on the Revolutionary War prior to beginning this project, the students do not have a preconceived notion of what items, events, people, and places should go into their final museum exhibit. Students must analyze the provided primary and secondary documents and analyze the trends of their research to determine what specific information to include in their final museum exhibit. Because students are not directly told what information to include in the final product, this allows the students to take innovative risks. Many students chose to include information and resources that they may have not included if they had been given a specific “checklist” rather than an open-ended rubric. At the end of the assignments, the students critique and reflect on their creative choices after viewing the work of the other groups.

Student Artifact

 

Download Files

Creating A Digital Museum Exhibit – Lesson 5453 Resources
Contents:

  • Assignment Instructions and Rubric
  • Creating a Digital Museum Exhibit Lesson Plan
  • Group Planning Form
  • Museum Project Introduction Flipchart
  • Research Template Document
  • Sample Student Research Templates
  • Various Web Resources
  • Class Websites with Final Student Products- 1, 2, 3
  • Student Exemplars: Example 1, Example 2
  • Teacher Reflections

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  1. […] design for the “World War II Digital Museum” lesson is based off of this project. The “World War II Digital Museum” lesson was designed so that 7th grade history students could […]

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