Special Classroom – Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Natural History Museum

Special classroom is an extracurricular activity for schools. Students will learn biology, natural history and other related subjects through hand-on activities at the museum. They will learn how to use scientific Instructions to solve problems and practice analytical thinking. More importantly, these activities are joyful, hence students will happily learn and gain good attitude toward science. The classroom can be divided into several stations so students will rotate to learn different topics. The activities are designed for different groups of age as shown in the table below:

Table shows suitable age groups for each activity

A      P1 – M6
B      P1 – P6
C      P1 – P3
D      P4 – P6
E      M1 – M6
F      M1 – M3
G      M4 – M6

* P = Prathom or Primary School M = Matthayom or Secondary School

Activity A01 Food Web
Preferred Class P1–M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
Food web is a process of energy transfer through foraging activities in ecosystems. It consists of several food chains. In an ecosystem, there are primary producer and several levels of consumer. If one component is missing, there will be imbalance.
  1. Explain and give samples of ecosystems and food webs
  2. Assign students to explore living things in the ecosystem
  3. Assign students to construct food chains from living things they found
  4. Summarize the relationships in that ecosystem in the context of energy transfer
Activity B01 Animal Sketching
Preferred Class P1 – P6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
Sketching is a way to collect information quickly. To sketch an animal, students need to observe and try to understand nature and characteristics of that animal. At the same time, sketchers are required to have basic principle skill of sketching before so they can produce beautiful and accurate works. The comprehensive sketches will be useful to induce or inspire other people to study nature. This activity is an integration of arts and science which promotes science learning.
  1. Explain basic principle of sketching
  2. Demonstrate sketching
  3. Assign students to try sketching simple animals
  4. Guide extra techniques to improve skills
Activity B02 Flying Seed
Preferred Class P1 – P6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
Plants have strategies to disperse their seeds. In some groups of plant, their fruits or seeds have wing-like appendages to help them disperse by wind. This is a result from evolution.
  1. Allow students to inspect fruits and seeds that have wing-like appendages to help them disperse by wind
  2. Ask questions about the benefits of wing-like appendages
  3. Assign students to design and create a model of two-winged dipterocarp fruit from paper
  4. Explain physic principle about the phenomena
Activity E01 Oxygen Producer
Preferred Class M1 – M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 45 – 60 min
หมายเหตุ Outdoor Activity
In the food producing process of plants, they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. In a day, human need 850 g of oxygen to breathe which can be produce by a tree with 850 cm circumference. Therefore, students will learn how to calculate the amount of oxygen produced by a certain area of forest or other green area with trees.
  1. Measure an area of 5×5 m2
  2. Measure circumferences of every tree in the area
  3. Convert in to the amount of oxygen producing from that area from the fact that 850 cm circumference can produce oxygen for a single person
  4. Calculate total amount of oxygen producing from the whole forest or green area with tree. For example, Kho Hong Hill have total area of 12,000,000 m2
  5. Elaborate how important of forest as oxygen producer and encourage them to plant trees in private areas like homes or schools
Activity E02 Bank of Water
Preferred Class M1–M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 45-60 min
หมายเหตุ Outdoor Activity
Another important role of forest is water source. In rainy season, a forest stores rain water under ground and gradually release it, preventing flood from too much runoff. At the same time, in dry season,it provides water when there is no rain. Accordingly, a forest acts like a bank that helps saving money when you are rich and give back your own money when you become poorer. This activity allows students to calculate the amount of water release into stream at a certain time.
  1. Observe physical and biological characteristics of a stream
  2. Assign students to discuss and come up with a Instruction to calculate the amount of runoff
  3. Here is one possible Instruction to measure water volume:
    • Calculate cross sectional area of the stream using basic geometry
    • Measure velocity of the runoff by counting time of floating leaf moving from a certain distance
    • Calculate the amount of water flow in that certain time.
    • Convert into the amount of water running down stream in a day
  4. Elaborate how important of forest as water source and may connect to the value of water provided by that forest
Activity E03 Habituation
Preferred Class M1–M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
Animals have obvious behaviors to respond to environmental factors. Different stimulations give different feedbacks. Habituation is a type of behavior found both in invertebrates and vertebrates. This behavior shows less response to unharmed stimulus overtime to reduce energy used.
  1. This activity uses snails in the experiment so students need to learn about animal ethics first.
  2. Assign students to inspect general characteristics of snails
  3. Leave a snail to relax then gently knock its shell. It will retract back into its shell.
  4. Count time until the snail comes out from the shell and seemingly relax
  5. Knock again and count time again
  6. Build a graph to show relationship between the sequence of knocking and the times snail used to recover
  7. Try to find some other stimulus
  8. Conclude the experiment and elaborate about benefits of this behavior
Activity E04 Mimicry
Preferred Class M1–M6
Preferred Number of Students 5 (Several groups can do at the same time)
Duration 30 min
Some animals have evolved morphologically to be similar to other animals in order to prevent predation or to forage. This nature is called mimicry. Animals that mimic other venomous animals can be safe from predators without spending energy to produce venom.
  1. This activity uses Thai coins, including 50 one baht coins, 50 silver two baht coins and 50 gold two baht coins.
  2. Put all coins in a container
  3. Assign every student to pick one coin at a time with a condition not to pick one baht coins as they represent venomous animals
  4. After 30 minutes, count the number of silver two baht coins comparing with glove two baht coins (Theoretically, there supposed to be more gold coins picked)
  5. Conclude the game and explain about mimicry
  6. Show students real specimens of animal that have mimicry, for example, botflies and bees
Activity G01 Dichotomous Key
Preferred Class M4 –M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
This activity teaches students to classify different living things systematically. Dichotomous key is a widely accepted Instruction of classification. Apart from just classification, dichotomous key also enhance students’ understanding about evolution.
  1. Explain principle of dichotomous key
  2. Teach students to construct a dichotomous key from given examples
  3. Assign students to inspect a new set of organisms and construct their own key
  4. Elaborate the benefit and importance of dichotomous key to taxonomy and evolution
Activity G02 Natural Selection and Speciation
Preferred Class M4–M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 min
Natural selection is an important process of evolution. In the process, characteristics that favor survival will be transfer to next generation while disfavored characteristics will be eliminated. Therefore, the same organisms might become different after being separated to different habitats for long time. When natural selections occur again and again, the organisms might have a chance to evolve into different species.
  1. Put students in pairs
  2. Each pair will select characteristics of a bird from a providing list in order to create an imagined bird that can survive best in nature, for example long legs or short legs, wide wings or narrow wings, etc,
  3. Separate the pairs of students to resemble a population separation
  4. Draw lots of environment factors that will deter survival of each environments
  5. Therefore, the same bird that was separated to different environments will have different chances to survive.
  6. Conclude the game and elaborate the important of natural selection and biogeography to evolution
Activity G03 Jumping Genes
Preferred Class M4–M6
Preferred Number of Students 30
Duration 30 – 60 min
Genes are parts of DNA which normally have a role to control genetic expressions. In the past, we believed that genes have permanent locations in chromosomes. However, we currently know that there is a group of genes that can move in between DNA, called jumping genes. This translocation can cause genetic variations or mutations; in some cases, it can cause syndromes. By learning about this topic, students will understand the roles of genes better.
  1. Separate students into 2 groups
  2. Let students compete in answering questions about genetics for coins as rewards. The coins will be used in the next activity.
  3. Students will throw coins in a genome map to resemble the translocation of jumping genes.
  4. If coins fall and stop over any genes, it means that genes are destroyed by jumping genes.
  5. Find the deceases cause by those genes destruction from the list provided
  6. Hint the decease without talking to a friends can let he/she guess
  7. Conclude the game and elaborate the meaning and importance of jumping genes study. Relate the topic to evolution of living things by mutation