Museum Activity

This activity is an “art tour.” The purpose of the activity is for students to view and discuss famous works of art from the target culture (and other world cultures) and reach a group consensus on a number of provided prompts. 

Instructions

  1. First, the teacher acts as tour guide, giving information about each of the art pieces displayed around the classroom.

  2. The teacher separates students into small groups (3-4) or pairs. 

  3. The teacher distributes six icons (see samples below) to each group of students who must then re-examine the works of art and choose the work which best answers the question each icon symbolizes.

    - Heart symbol: Which do you like the best?

    - Dollar Sign $: Which costs the most?

    - Gift Box: Which would you give as a gift to someone you care about?

    - Blue Ribbon: Which is the best of the group?

    - Question Mark?: Which doesn’t seem to fit with the others?

    - Clock: Which took the longest to create?

    As groups make decisions in response to the questions (below) they place on an icon for each question on the artwork they have chosen.

  4. In their groups, students answer the questions:  

    - Which do you like the best? Why?

    - Which do you think costs the most? Why?

    - Which would you give as a gift to someone you care about? Why?

    - Which do you think is the best of the group? Why?

    - Which doesn’t seem to fit with the others? Why?

    - Which took the longest to create? Why do you think so?

Helpful Tips

  1. To make the activity shorter each group can be given a limited number of icons or only one icon.

  2. Students could also be asked to make decisions on their own first, each determining their own personal point of view in response to each prompt, and then join their groups and present/defend their point of view to reach a group consensus. This would ensure that each member of the group has had time to formulate an opinion and has something to contribute. 

  3. The teacher may wish to assign roles to group members, i.e. discussion facilitator (who asks questions, keeps group on task, etc.), recorder (takes notes), presenter (presents final consensus to class), 'decider' (makes a decision for the group in the event of lack of consensus), etc.

Differentiation

  1. At the end of a predetermined time, each group reports to the other groups what they have decided for each piece of art and their reason(s).

  2. The activity can be scaffolded by putting possible phrases and reasons on the board before the activity begins.

Materials

  1. Large-sized printed works of art from the target culture (or different cultures) for students to discuss. Depending on the size of the class, the teacher would want approximately 5-7 pieces of art for this activity.

  2. Icons, either drawn on post-it notes or printed on paper

  3. Tape for students to post their icons to their selected works of art. 

Sample Materials