Exploratorium Field Trip Pathways


The Documentary
Original idea submitted by Linda Shore

If equipment is available at your school, students can make short videos of their visit to the museum. These videos can be used as an assessment on how well they interact and understand the concepts contained within an exhibit. These short videos can also be shown to fellow classmates upon their return to school.

Students like watching peers, friends, and themselves on TV. Knowing they will be seen makes them very conscious of how they present themselves: this also helps push them into making a higher-quality product.

There a numerous approaches to this type of assignment, but whatever approach is undertaken, the teacher should stress these three points:

  1. Students need to understand their chosen exhibits.
  2. Students should understand the interrelationship of exhibits.
  3. Students should be creative when producing their videos.

Here's one way of working this type of assignment:

  1. Break students into teams or groups of 3 or 4 students.
  2. Each team should be assigned an exhibit theme, such as heat, magnetism, or vision.
  3. Students should locate 2 or 3 exhibits that fall within this theme.
  4. They should play with and understand the dynamics and concepts of their chosen exhibits.
  5. Next, they should decide how they want to present their chosen exhibits so that fellow students watching a video of them will appreciate and understand this exhibit theme. To help achieve their goal, they should outline or write a script to orchestrate their documentary. Each exhibit presentation shouldn't be longer than a few minutes.
  6. Student tasks should be assigned. The group will need a presenter or two, a director or organizer, and a cameraperson. These roles can be exchanged during filming.
  7. When the group completes documenting their exhibits, students can edit their feature back at school.
  8. Following their field trip, the class should be allowed to view each other's work.

Here is a sample of a student-produced video of rotation and rotating exhibits.