Sunday, February 20, 2011

Museum Box: not just for Social Studies

I first came across Museum Box on a post I was reading on the Bright Idea's site and instantly had to check it out.  Then, I was happy to see that Edu Techer had posted an amazing segment on YouTube that gives great insight to the project.  As I was showing a friend of mine, also a teacher, we began discussing ways we could use this in our own classrooms.  Being that most of our middle school students are interested in technology and enjoy projects involving multimedia, we grabbed scrap paper right away and began to jot down ideas for our future Museum Box works. The following are ideas we came up with:
  • similar to the popular 'Me Box/Bag' - students could introduce themselves this way in the beginning of the year... due to the vast amount of time it could take to do this (and lack of available computers at once), we thought it would be neat to feature one or two students per day for the first twenty days or so of school.  If you were working with primary children, you could hold him or her in from lunch (2 treats in one day: lunch with you and work on the project) or you could set up a calendar letting parents know ahead of time when their child's day to present would be so that they could assist at home and also join the class for the special day.  For older students, they could work on the project independently and present to their small group (having four or five groups as teams each presenting to each other to save on time and building a stronger community within that small network of kids).
  • Language Arts: featuring their favorite authors (doing each author on a cube - displaying different pieces of work on each author's cube); featuring a novel (cube examples could be: author, setting, plot, other works, etc); diving into the setting (each cube could depict a place mentioned in the story); character cubes
  • Math: cubes could represent a culmination of a math unit - each cube could represent a sequential concept in math: distributive property (examples and non examples, definition, how it's applied), associative, identity...
  • Social Studies: historical figures, events in history, economic trends, types of governments, countries, 5 themes...
  • Science: water cycle, predator and prey, elements of the periodic table, geological time, types of rocks, weather and erosion, branches of science, careers in science, famous scientists
Kerry Turner shows how she assigned her class to complete a Museum Box based on an debate style assignment.  I also checked to see if one of my favorite bloggers posted about Museum Box because her threads are always so insightful... click here to read Kelly Tenkely's post on her site, iLearn Technology.

The Museum Box website also offers the following free resources: a gallery of boxes to view from other students, guidance for teachers (registration and creating student accounts), curriculum areas in which Museum Box can be supported, and more!

I especially liked that students have many options of which form of media to include for each cube within their box: images, text, sound, videos, files, and links.  They can even upload their own audio files!  How great to have them as the expert guide through their Museum Box -- to differentiate the activity, students could write a formal piece to podcast their work.  Others could select from a gallery of preloaded sound effects.  I can't wait to try this with my class!  I'd love to hear your ideas, especially if you've tried this before.  If you haven't but have an inspired idea, please leave a comment below and share with others.

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