Vocabulary Activity: Virtual Museum Travel
I was walking through the aviary at the zoo on Sunday when the word “gregarious” caught my eye. Now “gregarious” is a word I love, as I remember it by thinking of the gregarious Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch…but in this case it was describing a chatty bird, rather than a chatty 70’s show icon.
I quickly snapped a photo to add to my “found vocabulary” collection and moved on, but later, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great vocabulary activity writing museum signs could be.
So my inspiration for this week’s fun vocabulary activity comes from the last several months of “vocabulary spotting” at museums-whether it be the Missouri History Museum or the Aviary at the St. Louis Zoo.
Step 1: Ask your students what they love, or what their hobbies are (i.e. Superheroes, My Little Pony, Plants, Japanese Comic Books, Cars, Cheerleading-whatever it may be). Next, have them plan a museum based around that love/hobby. If you want, have them check out this list of museums for ideas, but let them know it can be as creative as they want!
Step 2: Have them decide upon 4 items they want to display in their museum (you can add to this specific number of items, I am just keeping it at a class period minimum).
Step 3: Ask students to write out the placards for each display item, using at least 2 vocabulary words per placard (see “Virtual Museum” vocabulary handout). Tell students that when writing the placard, the goal is to explain the significance of each item-why is it important in the collection and what is its function.
Not only does the writing of the placards involve vocabulary practice, but it is also a great writing project that can improve students’ writing skills in the informational and technical writing fields (see Writing Common Core Standard 2!). They can draw or find pictures of each item to add next to each placard, if you are using the handout for the final tour-see “Alternatives” at the end of the directions if you wanted to expand this activity.
Step 4: Have students write a “Welcome to the museum” at the top of their vocabulary worksheet, with the overall history of the subject, what the student hopes visitors will get out of the museum tour, etc. Have students use at least 3 vocabulary words in their welcome.
Step 5: Hang up the “virtual museum” pages around the classroom and have students “tour” the various museums, leaving comment cards for at least 5 of the museums (I would require each comment card to contain at least 1 vocabulary word used in context).
This museum tour is hopefully another vocabulary resource in which students can learn to associate vocabulary words with the hobbies they love, and everyone gets a chance to learn more about each student! Vocabulary acquisition made fun AND educational.
A. Have students create actual virtual museums: Check out Virtual Free Sites for museum inspirations and use Glogster to create the posters. Students can still take tours of other students work and leave comments.
B. Have students create larger posters or trifold display boards for a more formalized effect. This activity can be combined with science or history projects!
C. Have students bring in actual items to place next to placards and place “museums” on various tables around the room. Perhaps host 5 tours a day for students to check out and comment on the museums during free time.
Common Core State Standards:
Language Standard 4: Determining Word Meaning
Language Standard 6: Acquire and Use Words Accurately in Specific Situations
Writing Standard 2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.