Diorama of an Arctic hare and an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) -- in the dark colour-phase when it is known as a blue fox -- at South Camp Inn, Resolute Bay, Nunavut.
under the Magnifying Glass
Grade 7, Secondary 1 Activity
a PDF version of this activity sheet (350 Kb PDF)
You must have Adobe Reader (version 5 or greater) in order
to access this PDF-format file.
You can download
this software from the Adobe Web site.
Most students have been to a museum. But, do they know how
and, above all, why museums collect specimens and objects?
This activity will help students learn more about the various
roles of a museum.
Links with the Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes
- 109-1 -- Describe the role of collecting evidence, finding
relationships and proposing explanations in the development
of scientific knowledge.
- 112-4 -- Provide examples of Canadian institutions that
support scientific and technological endeavours.
- 112-9 -- Identify science- and technology-based careers
in their community.
Links with Other Subjects
- Social Studies (Career Education in Quebec)
- Approximately 40 minutes, not counting student work time.
The information for this activity can be found mainly on
the Web site of the Canadian
Museum of Nature (http://nature.ca),
and also on Ukaliq: The Arctic Hare (http://nature.ca/ukaliq).
Before conducting this activity in the classroom, you will
- visit the Web site of the Canadian
Museum of Nature and
read the pages and sections relating to this activity:
staff, conservation, Collections, Research
- visit Ukaliq: The Arctic Hare, particularly: The Research
Project, Hare Collections
- draw up a list of different jobs at the museum (researcher,
registrar, archivist, collection manager, conservator,
exhibition designer, educator, security agent) and cut
out each word so they can be put up on the chalkboard.
- computer with Internet access
- paper and pencils
- ask themselves about the different roles of museums
- discuss museum-related careers.
Ask students to share their own museum experiences. How
many have they been to? Which ones? Did they go with their
school or their families? Were they able to talk with the
people who work in these museums?
Discuss the role of museums and the types of jobs found
Put the words (job titles) that you have cut out up on the
board and start a discussion with students. What do they
know about these jobs? Ask them to take a few minutes to
write down what they know about them. Then, ask them to use
their notes to draw up a list of the different roles a museum
plays. If they have well understood the connection between
roles and jobs, they should have written words like conservation,
research, education, collection and archives.
Note: Do not give the answers immediately.
Next, guide students through the reference Web sites (http://nature.ca and http://nature.ca/ukaliq), where the answers to the questions
below can be found.
- How many major groups of collections are there at the
Canadian Museum of Nature? Name them.
- Why do museums keep collections? Give three examples.
- Explain what happened to the three cards used to gauge
the extent of fading caused by exposure to light. (Hint:
look in the Collections section of nature.ca).
- Name ten agents that deteriorate specimens.
- What is phycology? (Hint: look in the Research section
- What is the name of the researcher who studied the Arctic
- Name the three types of objects found in the mammals
Once they have found the answers to their questions, students
can continue to browse the two sites to check their answers
on museum careers and the role of a museum.
In conclusion, discuss with students the information found
on the two suggested sites. What do they have to say on the
role of museums? Be sure to cover the following terms: conservation,
research, education, collection and archives. Ask them what
they think of the place of museums in today's society
and of their usefulness.
Suggestions for Student Work
- Teachers - correct the answers to the questions.
- Students - research a museum-related career.
Expanding the Lesson
Explore the roles of researchers at the museum. For example,
why is it important to learn more about the Arctic hare?
Students may be able to find answers on Ukaliq: the Arctic