Click on the icon for Lesson 2 in Adobe Acrobat Format (160K).
Includes Activity Pages.
LEARNING THROUGH OBJECTS
- Observe and describe selected objects from America's Smithsonian.
- Match written descriptions with visual images.
- Use objects as the basis for creative writing.
- Social studies, science, language arts
1. Ask your students if they have visited places where people display
collections of objects (e.g., a school science fair, a trophy case, or an
antique car show). Ask them to describe what they saw and learned from the
2. Find out if any of your students have ever visited a museum. If
so, what objects do they remember most from their visits? Tell them that
museums care for and display objects so that people can enjoy and learn
from them. Museums can be as small as a gallery of objects or big enough
to hold thousands of visitors at one time.
3. Tell your students that museums bring history, culture, and science
alive by collecting and displaying objects that teach us about the past,
move us with their beauty, and help us understand the physical world.
4. Divide the children among groups of three or four and give each
team a copy of the object photographs on pages 10 and 13. Tell them that
the mystery objects they are looking at are from America's Smithsonian,
a traveling exhibition commemorating the 150th birthday of the Smithsonian
5. Give each group a copy of the mystery object descriptions on pages
11 and 12, cut out and individually pasted onto note cards to make them
durable. Tell students to read quietly all ten of the descriptions and then
to look at the objects again. After everyone has finished reading the note
cards, have each team work together to match each object with its description.
Tell students to write the number of each object on the note card that they
think best describes it. (Be sure to tell students that there are two extra
descriptions of objects that are not shown.) As a class, confirm the students'
reactions to the objects. [Key: Description A is object 6; B is 3; C is
not shown; D is not shown; E is 2; F is 1; G is 5; H is 7; I is 8; J is
6. Extend this activity with one or more of the following writing
Have each child choose one of the eight objects. Make photocopies of the
objects, hand them out with blank paper, and have students create picture
postcards. Have them write out their card, telling someone about the object
and why the writer thought the recipient would enjoy seeing it.
Visit a museum in your area and find postcards of the collections. Have
students write out the cards to each other or friends, describing the objects
and why they like them.
Using cameras or sketchbooks, have students create cards depicting objects
from their personal collections. Have them write descriptions or labels
for the objects.
Have the class come up with its own group of treasures like the ones in
this issue of this lesson plan. They could organize the objects under themes
such as "community," "school," "family," or
"our class." Have them write labels or descriptions and set up
the display in the classroom or some other part of the school.