This week, my chemistry students created projects about everyday products. They investigated the chemical reactions involved, how the producers reduce waste or maximize yield, the costs and benefits to society and the environment in the creation and use of the product, and the technological processes used to make it. Most groups made a slideshow of their information and one group built a physical model.
I wanted the students to interact with each of the projects. So, instead of oral presentations, I had them do a gallery walk. Each group set up their device with the slideshow around the room. Then, each student walked around the room and visited each slideshow. I had a list of items I wanted them to write down as they walked (find 3 benefits to society, find 1 balanced chemical reaction, etc). In order to complete the items on the list, students had to visit at least 5 slideshows.
Several benefits come from a gallery walk. First, no one has to present. I honestly believe learning to present is an important skill to develop! However, not every project needs to include a presentation and removing that expectation can alleviate anxiety for many students. Second, the students were out of their seats walking from one project to the next. They were able to read at their own pace and take the time they needed to get the information. Third, the students had choices. There are plenty more benefits that I hope you will see when you run a gallery walk.
This is not the first or only version I have used in my class. When we were digital, we did gallery walks through a single slideshow with slides from each group. The students wrote comments on the slides based on my guidelines. We have done whiteboard gallery walks. In that case students used sticky notes to add comments or questions to boards as they walked through. then the groups would return to their original boards and make improvements or clarifications based on the sticky notes.
If you have not tried a gallery walk yet, give it a shot. I encourage you to set ground rules and give students a task as they walk through, but then let them explore. 🙂