Theodosia is a precocious young girl, plagued with the gift of being able to break curses. With a preoccupied father, who runs the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London, and a mother, who explores Egypt in search of artifacts, Theodosia is inadvertently left in charge of her own education – including creating ways to lift curses from the objects her mother sends home.
Never considering the possibility that there might be others like her, she is drawn into the world of The Serpents of Chaos and finds herself in a battle against a curse that holds the power to destroy the whole of Britain.
I am a huge fan of museums and find it fascinating how many ways there are to categorize, organize, and display items. I will give you basic guidelines for building a museum of your own and will then list possible modifications for adding complexity.
1. Find 15-20 historical items you would like to include in your museum.
2. On note cards, list the titles/names, dates, location/origin, and the person/people/culture responsible for each item.
3. Arrange your items in groups, possibly 3-5, that you can display in the museum. You are in charge of deciding what attribute or commonality your items have – be creative!
4. Once you know the number of groups you have, take a piece of poster board and design the layout of your museum. Label the rooms and give your museum a name.
5. Include your items in the appropriate rooms. You may use pictures from the computer, drawings, or small replicas (make one out of clay or anything else you can think of).
6. Share your museum with others. See if you can get them to guess the attributes/commonalities you used to create the groups of items:)
For this activity, you fan let the students be in complete control of their artifacts, or you may give them a theme, such as scientific or historical strands. The museum could be an ongoing project where every time you finish a unit, the students add a room and fill it with the most important skills/knowledge from that topic.
*If you do a year long museum that you add to, they could a make an end of the year diorama of the unit that made the most impact on them and give a brief presentation on what they hope to do with that knowledge in their lives.
Math: Have them find the actual dimensions for the items they are going to display. When they build the museum, have them write the dimensions of the rooms they create as well, and make sure there is enough space for the objects and for people to walk around them for viewing.
*You can also add a math component to the items themselves – they can be grouped by age of the item, age of the people or person responsible, actual size of the items, or even a guess on the age of the people most likely to visit any given room. This last one could be figured out by doing a class or family survey to see what items appeal to people of various ages.
Seriously, I could go on here, but you probably have more ideas of your own! If you want any help with this project, please contact me. It looks overwhelming, but it is actually quite independent and is a great project to do with gifted students as well.
If you are looking for another variation of creating a museum, see From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.