Imagine walking the halls of an elementary school where the lockers and bulletin boards have been replaced with near life-size replicas of whales and giant maps of the continents dotted with endangered species around the world. This is exactly what happened recently at Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, Virginia in the U.S. when ARKive staff joined over 300 students, teachers and family and community members to launch the first ever ARKive School Museum!
The students spent several weeks researching various endangered species on the ARKive website and then constructed creative and educational exhibits incorporating art, science and interactive activities to teach visitors about threatened animals and plants. We definitely learned a thing or two from the students, or should we say “museum curators”!
“I’m a museum curator!”
Just before setting up their exhibits, all the students received buttons made by the ARKive team stating “Museum Curator. Questions?”, in both English and Spanish. This final touch combined with all their new knowledge about endangered species and effective museum exhibits empowered the students to proudly lead museum visitors through their exhibits.
Engaging visitors with interactive exhibits!
Each student incorporated an educational and interactive component into their ARKive exhibit. For example, this exhibit compared the heights of museum visitors with the heights of a variety of endangered species. On the left is a boy showing his mother how tall he is compared to an emperor penguin, which can grow to 130cm or 4 feet in the wild. His mother then followed suit passing off the emperor penguin in height but both mother and son have a long way to go to catch up to the blue whale, whose length extended the entire hallway
There were signs all around the school leading school museum visitors to ARKive Endangered Species Bingo, a fun way to learn about different endangered species around the world and their conservation status.
The ARKive bingo room was jam packed with excitement. Several students led the game at the front of the room while players learned about the endangered species that were called out. Keep an eye on ARKive Education in the coming weeks to find a downloadable version of ARKive Endangered Species Bingo to play at home and an optional lesson plan for teachers to play in the classroom.
ARKive around the world!
“ARKive Geographic: Exploring the World’s Biodiversity” was an ARKive activity incorporated into an exhibit where the student museum curator used large-scale print outs of the continents to teach their parents and friends about endangered species around the world, helping them to place the species where they are found on the map. This activity will also be available on ARKive Education in coming weeks so check back soon.
Finally, some of the younger students created these colorful masks to literally bring school museum visitors face to face with endangered species.
The ARKive School Museum was an exciting evening and wonderful culminating event to celebrate the hard work of the student curators and all their new endangered species knowledge! The ARKive staff would like to thank all the dedicated teachers, parents, and of course, the students involved in creating this incredible student-created, student-led night at the ARKive school museum.
Would you like to do an ARKive School Museum at your school? Contact ARKive to learn more about the ARKive School Museum project and how you can transform your hallways from lockers and bulletin boards to whales, world maps and everything in between!
Gabrielle Otero, Wildscreen USA/ARKive Summer Intern