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4th/5th Grade

How does art get to the museum?

Museum Curator Lesson and Activity


This unit supports the students going to the Columbus Museum of Art for their field trip. While there, they might wonder how artwork gets to the museum and who chose the pieces that are on display. Not only will they learn the answer, but they will also be challenged to notice themes within the artwork while they are on their field trip.


This unit also supports visual literacy skills for the students: “Visual literacy builds stronger readers, readers who can think about texts in numerous ways through a different lens, an important skill for critical readers and thinkers in the 21st century. Students skilled in visual literacy can create meaning from images, which in turn improves their writing proficiency and critical thinking skills. By integrating visual literacy into classrooms, we help students learn to collaborate and to discuss a wide range of ideas while expressing their own” (Minor, 2020).

In groups, students will be viewing, analyzing, and discussing artwork while making collective decisions on what they see. They will also be building their teamwork and communication skills as they defend their decisions and compromise on the group’s display. Studies show that “students learning in a collaborative situation had greater knowledge acquisition, retention of material, and higher-order problem solving and reasoning abilities than students working alone” (, 2022).


This unit also utilizes game-based learning as a motivator for student learning, and as a path to make learning fun.

“Games enable the integration of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational components to cultivate an environment where players feel more motivated to engage in the target activities….A game in which the players interact with each other is more engaging and creates more opportunity for synergetic learning” (Hartt, Hosseini & Mostafapour, 2020).


  • 5.3 CR Select and use the elements of art and principles of design to investigate interdisciplinary concepts

  • 5.3 RE Evaluate the relationship between works of art and human experiences

  • 5.1 RE Use established criteria to assess works of art individually and collaboratively

Essential Questions:

  • How does art get to the museum?

  • Who chooses the art for a museum?

  • Why is artwork grouped together?

  • Can I find common themes in artwork?

Student Curated Galleries — Easthaven Elementary School, Columbus

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