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Vary your questions to stimulate different kinds of thinking. Start with what students can sense as they look at or touch an object, then ask them to dig deeper. Here are some suggestions:

Recall Information
Students learn by making connections between prior knowledge and new information. Start by asking them to recall what they know about a topic. After they have seen the exhibit, discuss what they have just learned. Encourage them to compare previous ideas with new information by asking if any of their ideas have changed.

Make Connections
Ask students to synthesize information by summarizing facts from several sources, explaining concepts, or describing relationships. For example: By looking at this exhibit, what can you say about communities in the nineteenth century? From what you’ve learned from this exhibit, can you describe how planes fly? In this exhibit, what stays the same in all of the images of Buddha?

Use Your Imagination
Think about new possibilities. Ask questions such as: If you were the artist, how would you express this feeling or idea? If you were an inventor, how would you solve this problem?

Respond to the Experience
If your students have a strong emotional response to an experience, they are more likely to remember it. Have them examine their personal reactions to an exhibit. For example: How did the artwork make you feel? If you were part of the great African American migration from the South to the North, how would you have felt about the journey?

Evaluate the Experience
Ask students to justify a choice, take a stand, express an opinion, or defend a position.

For example:
  • If you had to choose only one object for this exhibit, which one would it be and why?
  • Did the objects, labels, and design in this exhibit work together to communicate the story or theme? How?
  • What would you change about the exhibit?
  • What was missing from the exhibit?
  • What should a good exhibit include? Be specific about your criteria.

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