Make History Come to Life with a Living Museum

You can make history feel real for your students with a living museum, a cool student project idea I learned about on Twitter. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Have you ever seen the movie, Night at the Museum? The film where everything comes to life with the museum closes? Well, there's a way to create your own living museum, an idea I found on Twitter thanks to Crockett Elementary.

living museum

The idea is fairly basic. You create a living museum out of your students! Each student selects a person to represent in your museum, then learns about them so they can provide museum visitors information about their historical figure. During the museum presentation, you should encourage your students to dress up as their character.

This could work for any student age group. The older the students, the more elaborate “museum designs” you can ask for. For example, in addition to dressing up as their character, you can ask students to have a small presentation ready, such as an informational video or a series of photographs that help the visitors learn more about the historical figure they are visiting. For younger students, you could copy what this elementary school did and keep it basic.

This could also work for any class. Whle, at first, it seems like it's just an idea for social studies classes, you could have students dress up as a famous mathematician and explain the theory their mathematician discovered. Language Arts could have students dressing as authors or characters. Science could have famous scientists, and so it goes.

Not only would students have a blast, but they'd be much more involved in the project than if you assigned a standard research report. This also lets students pick a person they're interested in learning more about and letting them come up with cool costume ideas.

Have you ever done a project like this? If so, what did you do and how did it go? How would you adapt this idea for your classroom?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to editor@simplek12.com.