Learn with Objects: Middle and High School Students

The tabs below have different activities that students and teachers can use to engage in object-based learning using objects from their homes and communities.

Evaluate an Object 

Directions: In this exercise, you will examine an object and think about the stories objects can tell. Fill out the sheet below based on an object that you or your teacher has selected. You can also access this worksheet in Google Docs. Print a copy to write on, or make a copy of the document and type your answers. 

Have students select 3-5 objects that tell the story of their life so far. The students must have a theme that ties all of their objects together. The objects can all be from a single event or could extend over a long period of time. Have students produce a poster, timeline, video, paper, comic strip, story bag, or other acceptable form of presentation.

For each object students must identify the object (using a picture, drawing, or object) and answer: Where did the object came from? How did they use the object & where did they use it? Why the object was selected? How does the object represent them?


Divide students into groups and have each group select an object to study. Have the students create a commercial that highlights the most important aspects of the object and its history.

The commercial should be no more than 45 seconds and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the object?
  2. Where is the object from?
  3. Who uses the object?
  4. Where is it used?
  5. What are the top five features of the object to sell the object or have someone keep it?

After students complete their commercial, have a viewing party and discuss how marketers, advertisers, and museums use these descriptions to create an experience around an object.

Commerical examples:

Create Museum Labels 

Directions: In this exercise, adopted from the Canadian Museum of History, students will create museum labels for objects they have selected. The sheet below is a step-by-step guide to this activity. You can also access it in Google Docs. Print a copy to write on, or make a copy of the document and modify it to fit your classroom needs.