English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Exhibits
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Museums
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Museum Exhibit Project

    Museum Exhibit Project


    In this lesson, students will review the museum exhibit project and plan the work process they'll use to research and create their exhibit. They'll also begin to research excellent museum exhibits in order to garner ideas for their own.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Decide how the annotated articles will be used in the exhibits.

    Museum Exhibit Review

    • In a quick mini-lesson, go over the main ideas of the museum exhibit. Students have had access to the Unit Accomplishment document since the beginning of the unit, but until today, they've been heavily focused on writing their essays.
      • ELL: Be sure to check for understanding with your ELLs to make sure that they are clear on how the project will proceed and what will be required of them.


    • Review the requirements and structure of the museum exhibit project as your teacher emphasizes the key concepts you’ll be working with.

    Museum Exhibit Work Plan

    • The process of writing the argument essay shifted the responsibility to independent student work more and more. That process continues here as the students take charge of the material they'll study and the products they'll create.
    • Do your best to support independent work, even if students make mistakes and wander down dead ends. There is time built in for students to abandon ideas that don't work out and start over on them.
      • SWD: Help students with disabilities identify ways that they can contribute most effectively to their group’s work plan. Be prepared to provide accommodations as necessary to maximize participation for all students.

    Work Time

    • As a team, discuss your next steps together:
      • How much research should you do on museum exhibits before you dig into planning your own?
      • Should you begin research with more articles on what it means to be a Digital Native or with museum exhibits that can serve as models for yours?
      • What types of artifacts seem interesting to you?
      • What are your group’s first thoughts on the theme you want your exhibit to have?
    • Think about how you want to divide your labor:
      • Do you need a research team or will all members conduct research at first?
      • Should individuals or teams work on each artifact?
      • Who will be responsible for generating the 100-word placards that describe each artifact?

    Open Notebook

    Exhibit Planning Session

    • Students' work plans will allow you to check in with them more easily. By pulling up each student's plan as you circulate around the room, you can help keep them productive, and you can also engage in fruitful conversations about how to make effective plans.
      • SWD: Although you are working now with your SWDs to help clarify their plan, they may make changes as they talk more with their groups. Check in with them often to make sure they are not confused and still have a clear plan in their head and on their planning sheet.

    Work Time

    Now, your group should make a plan for what each member will do during the first work session provided during class time.

    In order to make it simpler for group members and your teacher to stay coordinated, each student should answer these questions in writing.

    • Will you work together with other students? Whom?
    • What do you plan to accomplish in the work session?
    • What do you think will be the hardest element of the tasks you’re setting for yourself? Why?
    • What do you think will be the easiest element of the tasks you’re setting for yourself? Why?

    Open Notebook

    When you are finished, submit your work plan to your teacher.

    Museum Exhibit Groups

    • If there's time, let the students get started on their museum exhibit projects.
    • If they've planned well in the previous step, they can do the work they planned on. If they're not sure where to begin, they can follow the suggestions on the student page.
    • Students will be sharing their ideas with you, and that's a great opportunity to check in early to support any groups that are struggling with the independent nature of this work.


    In the time that remains, begin the work you planned together.

    Consider beginning with your museum exhibit’s theme. A museum exhibit will need to be cohesive and well-structured, just like an argument essay, so you’ll need a specific, persuasive central theme to act as a sort of thesis for your work.

    • To begin developing a theme, take turns explaining the main arguments each of you made in your argument essays.
    • Then discuss the common ground you have and the important differences that still remain:
      • Where do your points of view overlap?
      • Where do they differ in important ways?
      • How can you come to an agreement about what the museum exhibit’s theme will be, even though you still have some differences in your perspective?
    • Once you have a working version of your exhibit’s theme, brainstorm some artifacts that might help support that theme. You can choose some items from the list in the unit accomplishments if you get stuck.
    • Write down a working version of your museum exhibit’s theme.
    • Jot down your ideas for artifacts that seem promising.
    • Share these ideas with your teacher.

    Open Notebook

    Final Essay Draft

    • Make sure students know the specific tasks they need to accomplish for homework.


    • Finish any of the work you weren’t able to complete during the session today.
    • Be sure you have a polished final draft of your argument essay ready for the next lesson.

    Open Notebook