Gallery Activities

Looking for a way to engage your students as they explore the galleries? These activities are designed to help focus students on some of the larger themes presented in the museum. They challenge students to look closely and draw meaningful conclusions about the collections.

How to use these activities:

Select an activity from the list below. Make photocopies of the activity for your students. The museum will NOT have copies available. Provide your students with crayons or pencils. Please ask your students to refrain from leaning on any of the glass cases while writing. We recommend providing students with clipboards or notebooks.

Forest Explorers

Recommended for Pre-K and Kindergarten

This activity is designed to be used in the New England Forests exhibition in conjunction with the Welcome to the Forest Discovery Program, but it can also be used independently. This activity takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete.

Museum Safaris

Recommended for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grade 1

Each of these activities can be used to aid young students’ exploration of the museum’s galleries during a self-guided visit or before or after a school program. Each activity takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on the interest of the students.

Colors around Me

(Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grade 1)

On the Move!

Animals have many different ways of getting from one place to another.  Students learn some of the ways animals move as they find and draw animals that …

Under Cover

Students look closely at what covers an animal’s body as they find and draw animals with fur, feathers, scales, and shells.

Animal Detectives

Recommended for Grades 1-6

This activity can be used to focus students’ exploration of the museum’s galleries during a self-guided visit, an after-school visit, or before or after a school program. This activity takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Animal Detective

Grades 1-6

In this more in-depth version, students practice close observation as they search for animals in the Great Mammal Hall. 

Animal Detectives II

Grades 1-6

In this more in-depth version, students practice close observation as they search for animals in the Great Mammal Hall. 

Gallery Games

Recommended for Grades 1-6

These thinking games can be used to focus students’ exploration of the museum’s galleries during a self-guided visit, an after-school visit, or before or after a school program. This activity can last between 5 and 30 minutes depending on the interest of the students.

Mineral Hall Activities

Recommended for Grades 2-5

These activities can be used to aid student’s exploration of the Minerals, Gems, and Meteorites Gallery during a self-guided visit or before or after a school program. These activities take about 20 minutes to complete.

Junior Paleontologist

Recommended for Grades 2-5

This activity can be used to aid students’ exploration of the museum’s galleries during a self-guided visit or before or after a school program. This activity takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Animal Trackers

Recommended for Grades 3-5

This activity is designed to be used in the New England Forests exhibition during a self-guided visit, an after-school visit, or before or after a school program. This activity takes 10-20 minutes to complete.

Geologic Time Scale

Recommended for grades 3-8

For use in your classroom before or after a visit.

Geologic Hints for Teachers

Grades 3-8

Use these suggestions to get the most out of the timeline.

Geologic Time Scale

Grades 3-8
This time scale can be printed at various sizes for use while exploring museum exhibits or display in the classroom.

Evolution on Exhibit

Recommended for Grades 6-8 (Can be used as a starting place for grades 9-12)

Explore evolution in the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s world-class collections with this gallery activity. By observing specimens and making inferences, students will investigate evolutionary concepts such as adaptation, speciation, coevolution, and the magnitude of time.

Evolution on Exhibit

Grades 6-8 (Can be used as a starting place for grades 9-12) Explore evolution in the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s world-class collections with this …