Children’s museums are unique in that they are designed for younger audiences, who learn through hands-on play by way of interactive activities and exhibits. Gravity, robotics, health and fitness, culture, engineering, environment, and art are just a few of the educational topics that young students can learn about and experiment with at children’s museums, which communicate these themes and topics at a level kids can understand.
Through play and hands-on activities, students learn about what museums are, how they are organized, and about specific exhibit topics.
Before You Go
• Review relevant vocabulary and key terms: museum, exhibit, artifact, gallery
• Call ahead and ask if the museum provides maps of the museum or any other literature pertaining to background information about the exhibits.
• Find out about any special programs or activities that are appropriate for your class’ age.
What to Wonder
Ask: What is this exhibit about? What can I learn from this exhibit? How can I interact with this exhibit?
Describe what you see in the museum/exhibit. What images and colors stand out?
Observe how you are able to interact with each exhibit. What senses does it stimulate? Can you touch, hear, or smell parts of it?
Opinion: What was your favorite exhibit? Why? What did you see and learn from that exhibit?
Compare one exhibit to another. What is similar and different about them? Why do you think they are different?
Challenge: What would you add or change to an exhibit? Why? How would it make the exhibit better?
Discuss what you learned at the museum? Also discuss how the museum made you feel. Were you excited by the hands-on elements? Were you curious about the topics you were unfamiliar with? Etc.
Project: Museums often display collections of artifacts. What do you collect? Create a diorama that displays the items that you collect.
Research: Choose one of the topics you learned about in the museum, and make a list of the questions you still have about the topic. Then research that topic to answer the questions you still have.
Social Impact: Learn about another culture or country. Many children’s museums house exhibits about a variety of cultures, giving young students the opportunity to draw connections between themselves and other students around the world, as well as students within their own community.