Beginning with the end in mind, we reviewed our vision, taking a look at the many factors we need to consider (you can see some of them here) and all of our ideas (documented in this Padlet). What are we hoping it will look like once it is created and open to visitors? I asked. What kinds of things would we be excited and enthusiastic about sharing? I shared some pictures of kid-created museums (see photos) to inspire them.
So, in the past month, our decisions have centered around these key considerations:
- How will we fit everything into our museum? The students had brainstormed a whole host of ideas on our Padlet, and we knew we would either have to whittle them down to just a few ideas, or we'd need more SPACE.
- What is the PURPOSE of our museum? This will guide the type of CONTENT we display, and the kinds of interactive ACTIVITIES that will be available to our visitors.
- Who is the intended AUDIENCE?
We could see right away that SPACE was a key issue. Our principal had given us permission to use an empty classroom in a modular building that is under construction, scheduled to be ready by January. We began to discuss whether or not a one-room museum could work. My 5th grade class consists of 25 "museum-creators," and they all hope to serve as docents for our museum. We envisioned 25 docents and up to 25 visitors, a total of up to 50 students, plus a few adults, in one room at the same time. The students felt this would never work. Everyone agreed that we wanted visitors to have plenty of space to explore and discover. The students thought maybe they could take turns being docents, but I knew this would involve scheduling and a whole host of other issues. So, I presented an idea to my students. What if we requested more space, and divided our Maker Space/ Museum into more than one room? Most loved this idea, but a few were hesitant. They had already expressed a concern about finishing a one-room museum. The idea of creating multiple areas was overwhelming to them.
The students had already begun to narrow down possible topics for their personal projects, browsing topics on Wonderopolis and BrainPOP, and thinking about what they might like to investigate. I explained that "Seeker Space" had come to mind as a possible name for the exhibit area because they were all seeking to answer questions about their topic of interest. We had also discussed the idea of adding an information-gathering scavenger hunt for visitors to this area, so "Seeker Space" took on more than one meaning. They had seen the picture of a museum display created by a former class of mine (shown in the photo), with one wall entitled ASKING QUESTIONS, and it was proposed that if all of our project titles could be formed into questions, then questioning would be the common thread. Everyone was on board with this!
Finally, we discussed AUDIENCE. Our school is large, with up to eight classes per grade level, so we aren't sure how many classes we will be able to invite. We know that this type of space will not be suitable for very young students so we're aiming at a 4th grade audience. That way, if we are able to invite more, we can include either 3rd grade, 5th grade, or both!
We have definitely been using our CoRT Thinking techniques and predict we will use them throughout this process! Now, the students are excited about coming up with their questions, doing their research, and planning their displays. In my next post, I'll share more about this!