Locate a local museum or historic site that conducts demonstrations.
Explain to a museum educator that you would like a staff member to demonstrate to your class one or two processes such as churning butter, setting type, or folding origami. You might also ask if you can reserve enough time in a hands-on exhibit so that a demonstrator can help groups of students learn how to do something.

If possible, arrange to see two different demonstrations. Divide the class into two groups; each will become the writing audience for the other, finally exchanging and evaluating each other's draft essays.

Ask for the demonstrator's cooperation.
Tell the demonstrator what you are doing and why. Explain the demonstration's connection to your curriculum and how the demonstration is being used as the basis for a writing activity. Ask the demonstrator to allow enough time to pause and to let the students ask questions and take notes. Also ask for a list of terms he or she will be using as well as a broad outline of the steps in the process so that you can prepare a handout.

Build a context for the demonstration(s).
If, for example, students will be seeing a demonstration about clothmaking in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, find pictures of clothing from that time to show to them. Obtain samples of the types of cloth used for making clothes during those times. You might also want to ask the librarian to recommend relevant books or videotapes.

Last Modified September 19, 1997