- Practice observation and categorization skills
- Learn about their neighborhood ecosystem
- Deliver a short presentation to the class
- Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
- Wonderstruck: A Cabinet of Wonders Student Worksheet printable
- Empty shoeboxes, one per student
- Magnifying glasses
- Field guides
- Paper and pens for labeling
- Optional: Computers for student use
- Make a class set of the Wonderstruck: A Cabinet of Wonders Student Worksheet printable.
- Schedule time for students to gather small items (such as rocks, leaves, berries, or nuts) around the school grounds or plan to give students time outside of class to collect the items.
Step 1: Talk about the connection between museums and science. How do scientists help museums? How is the process of collecting things scientific? How can gathering objects in a "cabinet of wonders" help us understand the world?
Step 2: Invite students to create their own cabinets of wonders. Explain that their challenge is to collect at least 10 similar items from the natural world, such as rocks, leaves, berries, or nuts.
Step 3: Distribute the Wonderstruck: A Cabinet of Wonders Student Worksheet printable and read through the questions together.
Step 4: Either spend one class period collecting items on the school grounds or give students a week or two to gather items on their own.
Step 1: Once students have collected their items, encourage them to find the names of the items they collected in a field guide or online. Have students label each item.
Step 2: Have students artfully arrange their items in a shoebox for display.
Step 3: Once students have completed their collections and the Wonderstruck: A Cabinet of Wonders Student Worksheet, have students share their cabinets with the class.
Step 4: Discuss how the collections together represent a slice of the local ecosystem. How did students' understanding of their environment change as a result of the project?
Step 5: Put the cabinets on display for other classes and families to enjoy.