Object Based Learning

LEARNING FROM OBJECTS   What can students learn from objects in museums?  By carefully looking at the objects they’re seeing in the exhibits, student’s minds become engaged and the objects become learning tools.  Careful observation acts as a springboard for new thoughts and ideas, stimulating the use of critical thinking skills. Some of these skills include:

  • COMPARING and contrasting – recognizing similarities and differences in objects;
  • IDENTIFYING and classifying – recognizing and grouping things that belong together;
  • DESCRIBING – giving verbal or written descriptions of the objects viewed;
  • PREDICTING – guessing what might happen; and
  • SUMMARIZING – presenting information that has been gathered in a shortened or condensed plan.

Research shows that most children learn best through one of three ways:  hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), or touching/reenacting (tactile/kinesthetic), and some by a combination of all of these.

Museum curators consider a variety of learning styles when designing exhibits.  Docents or tour guides explain and interpret the exhibits for visitors.  All exhibits have written descriptions that tell a story about the objects, and many museums have exhibits that are interactive – hands-on.  Tour guides are also available for individuals with visual and hearing impairments