Odyssey of the Mind Curriculum Activity: From a Distance

Primary Goal: Students will research the Earth's changes and create an informational exhibit based on their findings.
Secondary Goals:
learn about the Earth develop a survey experience art
develop research skills use materials creatively learn effective communication
Prep Time
30 minutes

-- Individuals
-- Small groups
-- Larger groups

Special Materials
--art supplies
--cardboard or poster board
Have students search the Internet, and books and periodicals for information about the Earth's changes, such as tides, seasons, atmosphere, and the like. Tell them to also find images of the Earth's changes as viewed from space.

Based on their research, have students brainstorm what to display in a class exhibit about the Earth. Have them list components to include -- for example, models of the Earth revolving around the sun, illustrations of a location during different seasons, a depiction of changes in the atmosphere, etc. Remind them to think about what they want visitors to learn by seeing the exhibit, then have them draw diagrams of how to set up the components to have the most impact.

Divide the class into groups of three students. Have each group create a different component for the exhibit. Encourage them to use materials creatively. Vote for the component that uses materials in the most unusual ways.

Photocopy several different images of the Earth as seen from space and give one to each group. Give each group three sheets of 11' x 14' paper and have them create what they imagine the same location would look like from three different views: one student will create an enlarged replication; one student will enlarge a 4"x 4" section of the original to 11"x 14" the third student will take a 2"x 2" square of the 4" x 4" area and enlarge that to 11"x 14" Explain that the closer in you get to an image the more details will be visible. Include the images in the exhibit.

Give each group a large piece of cardboard or poster board to create a sign that augments their component or their pictures. The signs must include text. Some ideas are lists of facts, quotes from astronauts, or passages from literature.

Have the class develop a survey that includes five questions that will measure what the visitors have learned from the exhibit. Invite the other teachers in the school to bring their classes to the exhibit. Have each visitor complete the survey after they've viewed the exhibit. Tally the results and hold a discussion on whether the class obtained the desired results through the exhibit.

 1.  Hold a discussion on how the class could improve the impact of the exhibit, based on the results of their survey.
 2.  Ask students to make a correlation of the image based on the percent it is enlarged. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of focusing only on a section.
 3.  Discuss how words and images work together to communicate an idea.