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Gallery Walk Activities for Science Class

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Thinking about using the Gallery Walk pedagogical tool for your science class? Use this lesson to learn about the benefits of Gallery Walk in science class, as well as a few concrete strategies.

What is a Gallery Walk?

Gallery Walks are fun, informative activities in which students display some form of work around the room and visit each in turn. The name comes from the act of walking through an art gallery, viewing each piece of artwork. In a classroom, Gallery Walk students will often perform some meaningful learning activity at each piece of work, like provide comments or articulate it with their own work in some way.

Benefits and Challenges

The benefits of a Gallery Walk are numerous. First, it gets students out of their seats and moving around the room. Gallery Walks also allow for well-organized collaborative learning. In collaborative learning, students interact with their peers in some way to better facilitate the learning process. Another important benefit is that they allow students to receive feedback on their own work, leading to better products through revision and thoughtful reflection.

Gallery Walks are not the end-all of pedagogical tools, however. Participating in them too often can become boring for students. Also, physical space is a factor. Classrooms that are too cramped (or have too many students in them) may not be ideal for this type of activity. Another challenge comes in the form of collaboration fostered in Gallery Walks; instead of direct face-to-face feedback, students are often receiving feedback in a passive way. This can lessen the impacts that feedback-related conversations may provide.

Gallery Walk Ideas

The following are a few ideas for performing Gallery Walks in science classes. They're incredibly flexible, so these can be used in any science class at any level. You can also pick and choose pieces of the following ideas and form your own Gallery Walk based on the wants and needs of your students.

Anonymous Feedback

This is perhaps the most common form of Gallery Walk. Have students hang up some form of work (a poster, a short writing assignment, a drawing or diagram) with enough space between them to allow 3–4 students to stand in front of it comfortably. Set a timer (putting a timer up on the classroom screen allows students to know how much time is remaining) and have groups of students spend some time at each piece of work. While they are there, have them write anonymous feedback on sticky notes and place them on the work or around it. This will provide students with enough feedback to greatly improve their work through the revision process.

Stand By Your Work

In this type of Gallery Walk, students will stand by their own piece of work and have a face-to-face conversation with their peers as they make their way around the room. This can take several forms. In one form, students complete some product as a group, then elect one member of the group to stay with the product to discuss it. In another form, you do several rounds of Gallery Walks to allow each student the opportunity to discuss their individual product. Either way, it provides meaningful time for constructive conversations.

Group Discussion

Groups of students will display their work around the room in this Gallery Walk. Then, groups will move from piece to piece together and discuss the piece with their original group. Feedback can then be given in whatever form you prefer. Although this does not necessarily facilitate conversation between the creator of the piece and their peers, it does allow for thoughtful reflection on peer work in well-established groups.

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