Collaboration was at its peak during the last three months as Anderson School District #2 4th grade virtual students, their instructor Beth Dabney, and Alison Darby, Belton Area Museum Association (BAMA) educational coordinator, worked together to create digital projects for the museum exhibit Expedition: A Natural History Adventure Around the World.
“It was a lot of fun learning about the animals and making projects that people will see when they visit the exhibit,” stated Anna Lin.
She along with her partner Brantlie Cobb studied the large mouth bass. They conducted research on its habitat, its life cycle, and its survival adaptations and used that information to create a website and a Breakout, a type of digital game that asks questions based upon the information shared on their website. Answering the questions correctly advances players to the next level until they eventually win, and, therefore, “get their cell phone back that the bass swallowed.”
“We designed the project so that students could choose the type of digital presentation they wanted to pursue,” stated ASD2 virtual learning instructor Beth Dabney.
The sixteen students could choose from among 21 animals on display in the exhibit. After researching in three academic websites, they could then produce fact sheets, breakouts, websites, infographics, slide shows, and even videos on their chosen animal.
Some students worked independently and others chose a partner to complete the project. Then, after working through the research portion, students met with Ms. Dabney and Ms. Darby to decide upon content, edit, and create their projects.
“Biodiversity and adaptation is a 4th grade standard, so why not create a real-world, authentic learning experience where virtual students create something that not only improves their understanding of the topic but also helps visitors to the museum learn something too?” stressed Dabney.
The projects are hosted on a secure district server and will be accessed digitally using a QR code via the cell phones of visitors to the museum’s exhibit. The digital projects feature animals including the lion, the leopard, the piranha, the large mouth bass, the quail, the mountain lion, the zebra, the rattlesnake, the beaver, and the impala.
“It is amazing the quality projects that these students created with their skillset,” said Darby. “And their enthusiasm for sharing their learning with others is encouraging to see in these young people.”
Reginald Barmore, who partnered on the lion project with Jy’Nikus Taylor, said, “Putting the video together and narrating it was really fun.”
“I learned a lot about lions I didn’t know,” Jy’Nikus added.
“You and your family too can learn a lot more about these animals through these digital projects,” stated Darby. “Come view the exhibit and its newest addition of student digital projects at the Belton Depot.”
“Usually the museum is closed during Spring Break,” said BAMA executive director Abigail Burden, “but we wanted to give the community a chance to see these wonderful and educational projects while on vacation from school, so we have decided to be open during Thursday and Friday (April 8 – 9), from 9 am – 2 pm.”
“We are so eager to share these digital projects with our community!” she added.
And as always, visitors can come to see the exhibit during normal museum hours: Wednesday – Friday, 9 am – 2 pm, and Saturday, 10 am – noon.
Museum admission is free, thanks to our patrons and sponsors of this exhibit: Anderson County ATAX Fund, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Friddle’s Orthopedic Appliances, Home Instead Senior Health Care, S and M Auto Parts, Diamond Hill Mine, Belton Metal Corporation, and City of Belton HTAX Fund.
The Belton depot is located at 100 N. Main Street, Belton.