Mapping scenario (8th graders' previsit to a science museum)


Students are assignment a class project on the big bang and CERN and they prepare for a science museum visit with the help of the museum website.

Who are the actors involved?

  • Young students ages 13-14 visiting the museum in a group of three.
  • Teacher (responsible for the student's assignment for the visit as well as setup of usernames and password for museum)


The scenario takes place at a school computer in the library where they will access the website of the local science museum.

What technologies are used?

Museum website introduces and displays information about each exhibit.  Some of the content of each exhibit on the webpage, giving users a brief overview and sampler to what they might find.

After the user specifies which exhibits she would like to visit, the website can generate an itinerary for the user.  The itinerary is either in map form or in agenda form.

Museum website contains login with username and password, where users can edit itineraries and make personal notes on the itineraries.

Once logged in, students can see the itineraries of other groups in their class.
Museum website contains wiki pages which can be allotted to schools and classes.

Main Action
The students are in 8th grade. Their teacher has separated them in groups of three, and each group must complete a wiki page on one of each of the 9 phases of the big bang.  Their teacher has also given each group their own login and password, where they can create personal profile space on the website and the wiki.  The students go to the school library so they can begin their research.

The students browse the website looking at several of the individual webpages of the exhibits on display and they mark the CERN exhibit as something they must visit.  They have also come across a museum webpage on the collection of cars and airplanes on display.  One of the group members loves airplanes and they mark the exhibit as something they must visit as well.  The students also want to spend some time hanging out at the museum so they also mark that they plan on eating lunch at the cafeteria.  Now that they have marked a few exhibits that they would like to visit, the students ask the website to generate an itinerary based on these specification.  This itinerary can be accessed via the mobile device when they visit the museum in the future.  The itinerary suggests they visit the automobiles collection first and the CERN second.  It shows the planned stops in a textual agenda form with specific times.  The students see that they will spend 11:00 to 11:45 in the automobile collection and then 11:55 to 12:55 in the CERN exhibit. Also, lunch in the cafeteria will be in from 1:00 to 2:00.  Now, other students can see this schedule and they can join the group for lunch.  Their teacher can also view this schedule and they will know when and where their students will be.  Also, the students have a good estimate of when their visit will be over and they can tell their parents to come pick them up.  The students also have the choice of displaying the itinerary in map form instead of in agenda form.  This uses a graphical map of the museum to show them their numbered stops on the museum map.  They see that they will be eating lunch on the left side of the museum and tell their parent they will meet them in the neighboring parking lot.

They want to be absolutely sure to spend all the time they need in CERN exhibit so they change the itinerary and make the CERN exhibit the first stop.  They make a change to the itinerary by viewing the agenda format and clicking and dragging the CERN exhibit to the 11:00 spot.  This will shift the other events down the timeline automatically.   The students can add their own comments and details to the itinerary entries. They need to find an explanation for the different sub-atomic particles and they believe they can find it in the CERN. One of them makes a note of the agenda under the CERN exhibit which says, "Look out for an explanation of the 3 sub-atomic particles."

The students continue browsing the website on the big bang exhibit and receive an introduction to the subject.  They also watch a short video on the relevance of the CERN's LHC. This helps them become interested and engaged in the big bang exhibit, before they arrive.  It is now time for them to log off the computer, leave the library and return to class.