Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions.
- What are cultural artifacts? What do artifacts communicate about a culture? Language? Environment? Social structure? Rituals?
- How do you help students decode and interpret an artifact's symbols?
- What role could the arts play in a unit about the remnants of past civilizations?
- How do museums display artifacts? How does this influence how the artifacts are viewed?
- How do curators arrange exhibits? What information do they include on their display cards?
Watch the Program
As you watch, note how the task of curating a museum exhibit is used to help students look at artifacts and what they symbolize from multiple perspectives. Also note how the challenge of interpreting ambiguous symbols and deciphering messages with spelling mistakes refocuses students' understanding of the significance of good writing and visual communication skills. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning you see in this unit.
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Reflect on the Program
- How did the museum visit and exhibit project serve to deepen students understanding of culture and artifacts?
- What kinds of preparation do you think preceded the lessons seen in the program to make these activities successful for students?
- How do the culture and resources of this particular school help support the type of instruction shown?
- Which components of the study – social studies, visual art, theatre, or music – would be most challenging for you and your colleagues to incorporate in an integrated unit?
- What evidence, if any, did you see of the ways students benefited from this unit of study?
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