Replica of Franklin's Print Shop
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
The groups were able to move through the exhibits on their own. Our schedule indicated when we would meet for the mini lesson in the Franklin Gallery and lunchroom. The lunch schedule and our entry to the museum (our lunches and coats were stored, and museum rules were explained) were organized by the museum's staff. This was very helpful and contributed to a structured and well-planned day.
The mini lesson scheduled that day fit very well with our unit of study. The children really enjoyed the demonstration of static electricity. One of my students was involved in the demonstration. This captivated the children's attention even more and it was a dramatic display of static electricity.
Other exhibits that the children really enjoyed were the Heart, Changing Earth/Weather Center, and the Sports Challenge. The students were active participants and were experimenting with many of the concepts we learned in the classroom. The Sports Challenge exhibits provided a physical "workout" for many of the children. Many children remembered and made connections with the exhibits to things we had learned. Exhibits in The Changing Earth/Weather Center, in particular, activated prior learning about weather related concepts, tornadoes, storms, and clouds. Even the Astronomy exhibit helped prepare the children for our next topic, the solar system and universe.
Our visit to the museum took place in February. Appropriately for Black History Month, there was a scavenger hunt of famous African American scientists. Some of the children were interested in this activity and participated.
During the entire trip, the students were very excited and enthusiastic. There were plenty of activities and stimuli to keep all the children interested and entertained. At the end of our trip, all the children were tired and ready to rest on the bus during our ride back to school.
Generous founding support for the Harcourt Teacher Leadership Center and the Harcourt Learning Labs was provided by the Harcourt General Charitable Foundation on behalf of Harcourt, Inc.