Creating “Museums” to Promote Student Research & Analysis Skills

I have the privilege of speaking at tomorrow’s conference of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies (ICSS). The topic is the (Social) Science Fair. Growing up, we almost all took part in at least one science fair. You choose a question and then you research the subject and determine an answer to it based on your evidence. My thought was that my US History classes could apply many of the same concepts. After all, science fairs are just a way in science of applying the larger pedagogy of project-based learning. Thus, I created quarterly “Museums.”

They museums address specific major topics in history and allow the students to dig deeper into a specific topic of particular interest to them individually. Not only does this allow them a voice and a choice in what they research, but also it provides great opportunities for them to perfect their research and analysis skills.  The end result are displays that allow students ask questions and learn from each other’s expertise.

If you are heading out to the Quad Cities for the conference, please consider attending my interactive talk at 8:30am in B-2118. I will guide you through lesson planning and make suggestions from my experiences. If you can’t make the conference, then please check out my museum worksheets and a checklist for teachers. As always, please let me know your thoughts of my work.

Finally, I wanted to thank Willowbrook High School”s Social Studies Department for their tremendous support.


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