Using Artifacts & Models in the Classroom

Instructor: Shannon Orr
As a teacher, you can make any topic engaging. This lesson will introduce models and artifacts and describe how you can add these to your lessons to make your lessons more engaging to students.

Teaching Outside of the Box

As a teacher there are times when you must present a lesson that may not be as engaging as others. Even as you prepare the information, you may think to yourself 'how am I going to make this lesson interesting?' Teaching can't be limited to simply opening the textbook and turning the page. As a teacher, you have to make your students feel like they are a part of the learning process. Even better, why not make them feel like they are actually there while it is happening? Use of the five senses - touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound - can turn a regular lesson into an amazing lesson that students will never forget.

Seeing is Believing

Using Models

You are a fifth grade teacher and today's lesson is on dinosaurs. Students need to know different types, where they lived, and what they ate. You could just have students open their book to the lesson on dinosaurs, or you could start your lesson off with a bang. Imagine the look on your students' faces if you brought in an actual dinosaur bone! Not only could they see it, they could come up and touch it. A model is a copy of a person, place, or thing that is usually smaller in size. Getting your hands on an actual dinosaur bone would be nearly impossible, but with the right type of materials, you could construct a bone that is similar to the actual one. You could then have students write a brief essay describing what they thought this dinosaur looked like, where it lived, and what it ate, while encouraging them to use their imaginations and lots of details. Later, as you use the textbook to describe this dinosaur and the life it lived, students could share what they thought and compare what they wrote to what is actually true.

Using Artifacts

Sometimes reading about something that happened years or even centuries ago, can play out more like a make-believe story than an actual fact in the mind of a student. An artifact is something made by a human that has been preserved over a period of time. When discussing wars and talking about the hardships the soldiers endured, bringing in actual artifacts could help students place themselves in that moment in time. If students could touch an actual uniform and imagine going to war in freezing temperatures, or see and taste food that was available during that time, it may change their whole mindset of what this must have been like.

Be Creative with Lessons

When most older adults think about hands-on in the classroom, they recall their teacher pulling down a map and pointing to different places in the world or the iconic model globe of the world. Technology has enhanced this: with the advancement of technology, students today can zoom in on actual places and even see what it looks like today.

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