An Image Is Worth a Thousand Words

News from the Middle School classroom

February 10, 2021

Humans rely on sight to interpret the world around them.  Often, much of the interpretation happens in a split second, subconsciously occurring as a feeling or emotion, and it may not be fully processed. It is a skill to be able to recognize the intentional composition and meaning many artists present in their pieces. Practicing this skill requires students to think critically, converse, ask questions, and acquire background information.  Such was one of the reasons for our recent trip to the Anchorage museum.  Applying this learned intentional art will be the focus of the next few weeks in the 7/8 classroom as we turn our classroom into a 20th Century US History museum exhibition.

As students begin to plan the exhibits they are creating in the classroom, they were tasked to seek out ideas that they could incorporate from professionally arranged displays on a variety of topics. After the visit – students were asked to reflect.  Here are a few of their reflections:

Ella is researching Child Labor in the US (1930s)
The display that gave me an idea for my own exhibit had an array of tools. Ms. Mariner had mentioned maybe making some models. This exhibit made me think that I could do this with different machines or tools that people in the mills used. One of the machines they used was a Cotton Gin so maybe I could make a model of that. Another exhibit that inspired me was the video because it’s a visual of what that person is talking about. Also then you can incorporate photos into the video which may help explain what you were talking about. As a result of this display, I plan to make a video about Lewis Hine and facts about him. I will incorporate photos that he took into my video. The most useful thing I learned from our trip to the museum was that there are different ways you can express your knowledge and it can be fun and interactive or just photos with explanations. You should also have explanations of what everything is so people know what you are talking about.

Lucas is researching US military aircraft WWII
The title of the graphic is “Movement Map”. The type of graphic is a map with a timeline. The purpose of a Movement Map is to show what was happening at different times and where. One critical observation that I made was that sound along with the graphic makes the experience better. This is important because you want people to be drawn into your exhibit. I reached a number of conclusions through my analysis of this graphic. First, this type of graphic would be hard to replicate. Second, I feel that this would be very good at showing a visual representation of how things changed over time. Finally, I think if you made your map interactive the display will be more interesting.

Noah is researching the Space Race circa 1950 – 60
My favorite display at the museum was the room where you sat in the middle and listened to all of the voices and sounds of Alaskan history. This display was my favorite because the room was dark and it made you feel like you were in the time or place that the sounds or voices were describing. Another reason I feel this way is because there were exhibits on the other side of the wall in that room that talked about certain events in Alaska and other places, one of the events in the exhibit was the cold war. For my U.S. history project I am doing an event that took place during the Cold War, so that helped me and gave me some ideas for my project. Most importantly, I think when you can listen to an exhibit it seems a lot more realistic and easier to picture yourself in the story being told. For these reasons, I believe that the sound room was the best exhibit we saw while at the museum.

And while you ponder these eloquent reflections, here are some other photos of Middle School Life over the last two weeks: