So Much More Than Content

News from the Middle School classroom

February 26, 2021

All too often in education, we focus on content and understanding.  We test for knowledge and zero in on process over product.  Presentation is often glossed over. Yet in the working world, we know that employers would never accept sloppy or unpolished work. Presentation is a form of communication – it must be organized, interesting, eye-catching.  It can’t be too much or too little – it has to be just right.

Seventh and Eighth graders researched topics of their choice from 20th Century US History and created museum exhibits to present their understanding. The most challenging thing for them to do was to narrow their topic to one Big Idea and then tell that “story” sensically and cleanly. Then, students were asked to “present” their Big Idea in an intriguing way, using visual images and graphics to help them tell their story. They studied displays at the Anchorage Museum, and researched exhibit techniques to help them form their own ideas.

It was harder to put together this cohesive exhibit than students initially thought.  Fonts needed to be readable and big enough, pictures labeled and credited, graphics designed, spaces filled creatively and purposefully, and the organization had to make sense.
Add color,
Check for typos,
make the image bigger,
Fill the space,
Etc.While the project was about events in 20th Century US History, students also honed skills in research, citing references, presentation, perseverance, nonverbal communication, and a host of others.  As a result the 7th and 8th graders were quite proud of all the work they had done. And when the 5th and 6th grades came to the museum, these younger students were wide-eyed impressed that each exhibit was completed by just one person.  Well done!

Due to Covid, parents were unable to visit the museum.  Students decided to present their projects via video…which will be ready by the end of Spring Break!