Savvy Strategy: Create a Museum Exhibit PROPOSAL

Please note:  capitalized PROPOSAL.  In a recent unit, my colleagues and I debated the pros and cons of a summative assessment based on the creation of a museum exhibit.  I challenged the idea because of the authenticity.  If someone creates a museum exhibit, certainly, the materials list extends beyond a trifold board.  After several nights of, what I call, “T-search” (t-(eacher re)search) [definition:  scouring every teacher website and resource link for anything resembling what I’m trying to create], I came to the realization that a proposal is a bit more authentic, manageable, and valuable.

Proposal

Why?
Authenticity:  As I mentioned, limiting a museum exhibit to a trifold board, is a boxed up project that emphasizes the display, rather than the content.  A proposal is true to the professional field, leaving the creativity factor open-ended.

Manageable:  A proposal gave us greater leeway with completing the project in the confines of the computer lab, classroom, library, etc.  Students did not cart around their materials.  Students focused on the written paper.

Valuable:  I took this opportunity to emphasize the importance of presentation skills and making a pitch.  As a teacher, I don’t prepare proposals on a daily basis, but over half of my friends hone this skill in their marketing, consulting, or public relations field.  I want students to have this experience, because it focuses their presentation and provides them with an opportunity to hone their PITCH skills.

Steps:  
Students selected their topic; based on readiness, students researched their topics with varied amounts of scaffolding and support; students compiled seven sources they would include in their proposed museum exhibit; students wrote a paper explaining the background information, purpose for exhibit, explanation of each source, and finally, a description of the visitor experience at the exhibit; students created a simple PowerPoint featuring the sources; students presented their proposal to the “museum board”.

I would HANDS DOWN repeat this project and recommend it for any teacher {science, language arts, history, foreign language}.  Students amped up their Google Apps skills, expanded their knowledge on self-selected topics, and improved their presentation skills.  I will end with my favorite student quote…pulled from a student email the night before the assignment was due:

I’m so excited to present tomorrow…I wish I was actually proposing my exhibit to a real museum; I want to create this exhibit!

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