K-12 Educational Resources

The Mathers Museum offers a wide variety of services for educators, whether you teach at home or in a K-12 public or private school. If you have a question or need something beyond what you see listed please email us at museumed@indiana.edu. The museum's school tours and services are always free.

Educator Resources Guide
This guide presents an overview of educational services for K-12 teachers.

Current Tours
Note: This listing provides information regarding tours available through May 2. However, due to exhibit renovations, the MMWC will have limited tour options available in the summer. Please see "Summer Tours" section below for specific information on tours beginning in May.

From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything
This exhibit is a groundbreaking look at "Big History." Using astronomy, physics, biology, paleontology, anthropology, archaeology and more, it unravels the history of the last 14 billion years by looking at 100 key events that take us from the beginnings of the universe to today. A limited amount of scholarship money is available to underwrite transportation costs to tour From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything. Please contact the museum at museumed@indiana.edu for information. Available tours include:

How Do We Know?
Indiana Curriculum Standards: EL 3.2.3; SS3.3.11; Sci 3.2.1; Sci 3.2.4
Designed for Grade 3, this tour explores how we learn about the past, from fossils to primary sources, and how humans have altered the planet.

Change Over Time
Indiana Curriculum Standards: Sci 4.1.5; 4.4.1; 4.2.2; 4.2.3; 4.2.6
Designed for fourth graders, this tour will look at how the earth has changed over time, the introduction of humans to our environment, the rise of cities, and why we need start thinking more seriously about sustainability.

Inventions and Prototypes
Indiana Curriculum Standards: Sci 5.4.1; 5.4.2; 5.4.3
Fifth graders will experience the exhibit in a whole new way as they look at various inventions and prototypes and then try their hand at designing their own.

Indiana Curriculum Standards: SS6.1.13; 6.1.15; 6.3.10; 6.3.11; 7.1.3; 7.3.7; SCI7.2.3
Sixth graders can explore the exhibit in search of answers to big questions involving both social studies and science, such as "What natural or cultural developments occurred before we saw the rise of cities and democracy? "Which invention do you think has changed the world the most?" "What artifacts came out of the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Discovery?"

Thoughts Things and Theories..What Is Culture?
This exhibit examines the ideas that unite us all. Start by exploring two 1967 homes--one from Bloomington and the other from Nigeria--to see what similarities the two share, then move beyond the homes to see how cultures around the world celebrate important moments in life through artifacts, photographs, and text. Available tours include:

We are All People
Indiana Curriculum Standards: K.1.4; K.3.6; 1.3.8; 1.4.3; 2.2.4
Designed for Pre-K through grade 3 this tour includes a discussion on the ways all cultures are alike and how we can appreciate and celebrate the differences. (Group size limited to 25.)

Think Like an Anthropologist
Indiana Curriculum Standards: SS 4.1.17; SS6.1.15;6.3.11; 6.3.10;6.3.14; 7.1.20
Designed for Grades 4 and up, this tour explores culture and how we study it. Students will visit the exhibit Thoughts, Things, and Theories...What Is Culture? and then spend time analyzing artifacts. (Group size is limited to 30.)

How Does Culture Change?
Indiana Curriculum Standards: SS6.1.15; 6.3.11; 6.3.10; 6.3.14
Designed for grades 6 and up, students will explore the idea of cultural change and the forces that cause it.

Customized Tours
Tours can be customized to enhance ongoing classroom experiences. Please email Sarah Hatcher at sahatche@indiana.edu to discuss a customized tour.

Summer Tours
Due to exhibit renovations, the MMWC will have limited tour options available in the summer.

Museum Detectives
During this 45-minute long program visitors will learn how to investigate objects to help determine what they are. Along the way we'll learn more about the objects' cultures and/or times. Please pick from one of these themes: Day of the Dead, Hausa, Indiana's Past, Musical Instruments, or Touchable Textiles. The tour is free, and group size can range between 10 and 30 visitors, but reservations are required. Please email museumed@indiana.edu.

Scheduling Your Tour
Please book tours at least two weeks in advance using the online Tour Request Form. If you wish to bring your class during the first two weeks of the semester you are encouraged to book at least one month in advance. All tours are booked on a first come, first serve basis, so please have at least two dates and times in mind. Also, please plan to bring one adult for every ten children.

Teaching with Objects and Photographs
Teaching with Objects and Photographs (TOPS) is a free guide for teachers interested in using artifacts or photographs in the classroom. It is available as a free downloadable file and may be shared with other educators. The guide includes background information on the process of teaching with objects as well as lesson plans, photos, and ideas for finding additional photos and artifacts to study. Download the TOPS guide here.

Discovery Kits and the Teaching Collection
Our kits are designed to be checked out for up to two weeks and utilized by instructors. Kits include background information and artifact identification information. Teachers are strongly encouraged to use objects in the kits to teach the lessons in Teaching with Objects and Photographs. Available kits are:

  • Indiana Objects
  • Day of the Dead
  • Everyday Artifacts

Discovery Kits can be checked out for free. Transportation is the responsibility of the teacher. In addition to the Discovery Kits, the Education Department owns a collection of items suitable for gentle classroom use, library displays, and other educational pursuits. Please contact us for more information.