The use of object-based learning within classrooms has many benefits, including enhanced observational skills, expansive peer-to-peer interaction, and an atmosphere that supports creative expression and abstract thinking. The Ohio History Connection’s (OHC) Museum in a Box program is a great resource to introduce an object-based learning environment in the classroom, but there are more ways than one to get the kids actively engaged in your lesson!
My name is Larissa-Bronte Agbor and I’m a School & Teacher Support intern here at OHC, where I’ve been facilitating Museum in a Box programs to different summer programs such as the YMCA and other community-based initiatives. After presenting materials focusing on the Underground Railroad and/or Family & Community Life, I was able to create activities based on these materials in order to maximize the potential of the lessons. While these materials are grouped to support the specific subjects within the Museum in a Box, they can also be used to fit into your teaching plans! You can reserve a Museum in a Box here, but in the meantime, here are some materials that could be used to amplify your Box/lesson with your students. These materials can be used on a broad spectrum of lessons, activities, or simple games for students in diverse class environments.
1. Map Outline: There are many possible routes that freedom seekers could’ve taken within the Underground Railroad. Have students outline their chosen escape routes across the South and North. Be sure to ask them about the key elements within the specific regions/states, such as climate and the geography. You can find a step-by-step outline here: Map Activity
2. Analyzing Lyrics: Create conversation around the kind of music students listen to and why. Have them listen (and read lyrics) to an old African-American folk-song, comparing the use of language then compared to today’s music. You can find a step-by-step outline here: Song Analysis Activity
3. Scavenger Hunt: Hide your materials around the room and have students introduce themselves before attempting to find an item. Talk about the different objects and their characteristics, whether it’s big, small, heavy, etc. You can find a step-by-step outline here: Scavenger Hunt Activity
Feel free to use these materials in any way they can help your lesson plan. These materials also don’t solely need to be used in the traditional classroom, but can be applied to different themes. For example, the outlined maps could be used to create outlines of territories that resided in the now-United States or to outline the different regions and their geographical differences.
Do you use object-based learning in your classroom? Got a favorite activity to help students explore artifacts to understand history? Let us know by emailing [email protected].