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Curious Curators
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


In this lesson plan, students investigate the world around them by becoming curators. Working on their critical thinking skills, groups of students learn how to organize a collection around a theme. Ultimately, they will produce a museum-style exhibition, presenting their collections to the class.

Grade Level: 5-8

Time Allotment: 5 standard periods (40-45 minutes each)

Subject Matter: Visual art, language arts, history

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Write a theme statement for a collection, creating patterns of meaning among diverse objects.
  • Research information about and write descriptions of artifacts.
  • Understand the job of a museum curator.
  • Use a group process to reach consensus on the objects to be included or left out of their collection.
  • Produce a museum-style exhibition.

National Standards:

Arts Connections from CNAEA: National Standards for Arts Education
  • Understands characteristics of works in various art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context
  • Understands the characteristics and presentation of characters, environments, and actions in the various art forms
  • Knows how various concepts and principles are used in the arts and disciplines outside the arts (e.g., balance, shape, pattern)
Visual Arts from CNAEA: National Standards for Arts Education
  • Understands the historical and cultural contexts of a variety of art objects
Language Arts from New Standards: Middle School
  • Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
  • Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
Life skills: Thinking and Reasoning from NCHS: National Standards for History: Basic Edition
  • Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences
Life skills: Thinking and Reasoning from NCSS: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
  • Applies decision-making techniques
Life skills: Working with others from NCTE: Democracy Through Language
  • Contributes to the overall effort of a group
  • Uses conflict-resolution techniques
State Standards:

New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts - Standard 1 - Language for Information and Understanding

Listening and reading to acquire information and understanding involves collecting data, facts, and ideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and using knowledge from oral, written, and electronic sources. Students:
  • compare and synthesize information from different sources
  • use a wide variety of strategies for selecting, organizing, and categorizing information
  • distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information and between fact and opinion
This lesson was prepared by: Ann Willmott Andersson