Exhibit Activities

Explore our exhibits using these activities; upper elementary/middle school and above.

Differentiated Activities

Exhibit Activity Description Strategy
Convergent Evolution Explore examples of convergence in vertebrates at the museum. Cubing
Evolutionary Relationships in the Museum and Beyond Explore evolutionary relatedness among organisms (phylogeny) in a natural history setting and then extend those ideas to another setting on campus. Learning Contracts
Interpreting Evolutionary Trees Interpret evolutionary trees in the KU natural history museum. Choice Board
Investigating VIST Evolutionary Principles Integrate the evolutionary principles of variation, inheritance, selection and time using museum exhibits. Cubing
Shared Characters and Evolutionary Trees Observe shared characters of taxa and interpret/depict them within the context of an evolutionary tree diagram. Tiering
Selection in Finches and Files Explore the principle of natural selection from different perspectives. RAFT
Weather across Space and Time Investigate weather/climate variables over time and geographic locations, and its impact on adaptation. Cubing

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts Connected Activities

Exhibit Activity Description
Costa Rica Archaeology Exhibit: Pre/Post-Visit Activity Explore two NGSS crosscutting concepts (Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quantity) using an archaeology exhibit.
Patterns, Scale and Structure Explore three NGSS crosscutting concepts (Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quantity; Structure and function) using exhibits.

Background Information for Teachers

Using these activities: Informal education experiences provide important opportunities to support, extend and challenge learners. Most exhibit activities use differentiated instructional strategies, are designed to be flexible and can be used in a variety of ways depending on the time available, your learning goals, the abilities and needs of students, the skills of chaperones, and comfort level with content and differentiated instruction. Differentiated activities were created for use on site at the KU Natural History Museum; a few could be modified for use in the classroom. Two activities are connected to NGSS crosscutting concepts.

Rubrics/Assessments: Rubrics (where provided) intentionally reflect a broad framework for thinking about student experiences to help identify particular learning needs of students (e.g. need additional support, might benefit from additional experiences or independent projects); although, they could be used for more formal assessment. Assessments are primarily structured around content and product related aspects of activities, these explorations can also be assessed through the lens of more affective factors of process such as personal growth, responsibility and interest.

Things to Consider: Questions/concerns about using these activities include: (1) varying facilitation skills and knowledge of chaperones; (2) distractions due to the novelty factor and independence; (3) students’ ability to apply their skills and knowledge outside of a classroom setting; (4) the flexibility and choice of some tasks; and (5) familiarity/comfort level with content and instructional strategies. Approaches to help address these issues include: using more structured options such museum discovery guides or exhibit activities differentiated by learning modalities; using variable grouping structures to encourage and facilitate student independence; and providing choice for which tasks are selected and/or how individuals students or groups record/present their tasks to connect with student interest, foster independence and to help them stay on task.