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Perspective: Creating a Museum-In-A-Box

Posted on May 29, 2020 at 4:00 PM by Sarah Sweet

My name is Sarah Sweet, I am currently a junior at Iowa State University with a major in History Education and a double minor in General Business and Political Science. This is my 2nd semester interning for University Museums as the education intern. Under the guidance of the Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning, Lilah Anderson, I assist in helping to engage students in the different programs University Museums offers.

This last semester my main focus has been centered around Education Kits. My goal was to reorganize the Education Kits from years prior to be more convenient, adaptable and engaging for teachers and their classrooms. My hope was to create a box that educators could simply check out and have everything they needed to have fun and hands-on lessons with their students from only the contents of the kit. While trying to brainstorm ideas for the first Education Kit, it seemed only right to start with where it all began.

Built in 1860, the Farm House Museum stands as the oldest building on Iowa State University’s campus. Serving as an ideal educational tool for students, as it is a window into the history of Iowa Agricultural College and the Model Farm. Although the Farm House Museum engages all students who enter, the challenge is how to captivate those who are not able to visit. The hope of the Education Kit program is to help educate and engage students across the state who are unable to visit. This program’s goal is to create an interactive and immersive field trip for students in the comfort of the classroom. The education kit includes curriculum plans, worksheets, artifacts and hands-on activities for students, as well as supplemental games, timelines and information sheets for teachers to choose from. The Farm House Museum education kit is a potential resource for Iowa teachers to utilize and adapt to their classrooms needs. We hope educators and students alike can have fun learning from this unconventional museum visit.

The Farm House Museum education kit was designed to incorporate important aspects of the Museum, therefore the kit includes a variety of themed activities for teachers to choose from. These vary from Analyzing Artifacts to Farm House Quilts. Each activity set includes captivating hands-on material for students to learn from. A main benefit of the education kit is there is. minimal preparation required from the teacher. All worksheets, artifacts & activities are included, as well as step by step instruction sheets as to how to utilize the kit. Teachers are also able to align their activity set choices with accompanying content standards. We have incorporated specific Iowa Core standards for 3rd through 5th grade. Another positive is the adaptability of the education kit to each individual classroom, as teachers can choose to utilize one or all activity sets.

Activities are flexible and can fit into unique classroom schedules with no strict time frames required. The Farm House Museum education kit hopes to be a museum-in-a-box for teachers and students across the state to explore and learn.

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