Sunday, August 27, 2006

I found a science museum in my basement

It was in a box labeled "School--Treasures." Inside was the snake skin and snake eggs (hatched, thankfully), the star fish, the sand dollars, the fossils, the skulls and bones, the flamingo feathers, and lots of other artifacts of nature that I've collected (and been given) over the years. A science museum, waiting to happen!

Each of my 5th graders will choose an item from the "Treasures" box and will be charged with writing the informational blurb that will explain it to a visitor to our museum. This will take research (non-fiction reading benchmark), writing (all benchmarks of the writing standard), and scientific habits of mind (scientific inquiry benchmark). Valid content--cha-ching!

It will be months before the art teacher has a display ready for the shelves along the windows in the commons, so we'll have the space we need. Logistics--cha-ching!

In Friday's USA TODAY there was an article about museums that are creating podcast audio tours of their exhibits. We can create a podcast of our museum in GarageBand. Integration of technology--cha-ching!

One model that we will use for our writing will come from online virtual science museums. (The Smithsonian's 150th Traveling Exhibition, and the Field Museum's Sue at The Field Museum are two that I think will give us good writing models.)

But I'd also like to use children's books that model the kind of writing we will do to briefly explain the items in the museum. I think EYEWITNESS books will work well. They have the overview in the top left corner, and each item on the page has a short, explanatory caption.

Do you know any other children's books that would be a good model for our science museum writing, OR books about going to a museum (science or otherwise)? I would appreciate your input!

1 comment:

  1. I'm new to a middle school library this year, but found some titles for you in our catalogue:

    Frozen snakes and dinosaur bones : exploring a natural history museum / Margery Facklam. New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1976. Takes the reader behind the scenes in a natural history museum.

    A couple of fiction books:

    2095 / by Jon Scieszka ; illustrated by Lane Smith. New York : Viking, c1995. While on a field trip to New York's Museum of Natural History, Joe, Sam, and Fred travel one hundred years into the future, where they encounter robots, anti-gravity disks, and their own grandchildren.

    Remember me to Harold Square / Paula Danziger. New York : Dell, 1988, c1987. When Frank spends the summer with Kendra and her family in their New York City apartment, a friendship develops as the two teenagers set off on a scavenger hunt exploring the city's museums, restaurants, and other landmarks.

    I don't know if they would be of any use to you... sounds like a great project!


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