Classroom Kits & Other Resources

Learning resources for people of all ages

Image of A young student touches a fur sample in the museum galleryCheck out the resources below for ways to deepen learning. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Education Team.

Classroom kits may be borrowed by K-12 teachers. Some kits require training before use. Please contact us for more information.

Science Kits

  • Dinosaurs (Grades K-2, science): Early elementary students dive into the Mesozoic through 8 hands-on activities that can be set up as stations, teacher led, or led by older students. Students compare, sort, and measure models and casts of prehistoric animals to learn what dinosaurs were and how they differed from other animals. Kit includes: materials for activities, teacher notes, student handout masters. Time required: varies, recommended 2-4 class periods
  • Fossils (Middle school, science): Supplement NGSS evolution topics with this three part, hands-on kit. Students review what fossils are and how they are made, determine the relative age of fossils, and gather and organize data about the evolution of the vertebrate front limb. The activities include fossils and/or fossil casts. Kit includes: all materials for each activity, teacher directions, master copies of student handouts, and teacher keys. Time required: 2-3 class periods. Requirement to borrow this kit: attend (in person or virtually) a 15-minute overview with a Museum Educator
  • Michigan Mammal Skulls Kit (Grade 6-12, science): Study the morphology of various mammal skulls, including features that indicate diet, predator/prey status, age, etc. Kit includes: skulls from 17 different species, fact sheets for most of the species. Time required: varies, approximately 1 class period

  • Clipbirds Natural Selection Simulation (Grades 9-12, biology): In this simulation of natural selection, students use three different sizes of clips to represent variation of beak size within a population of birds. The proportion of big-, medium-, and small-beaked birds changes in response to the available types of food. Kit includes: all materials for the simulation (clips, beans, corn, etc.), teacher directions, masters of student handouts, teacher keys. Time required: 1 class period (Adapted from work by Al Janulaw and Judy Scotchmoor)
  • Hominin Lab (Grades 9-12, biology)
: Students compare skull casts of early human ancestors to collect data at stations and generate an evolutionary tree depicting hominin lineage. Kit includes: 8 hominin skull replicas, labels and directions, student handout masters, teacher information and keys. Time required: 1-2 class periods (suggested following Primate Lab, below)
  • Primate Lab (Grades 9-12, biology): Students compare skull casts of early human ancestors to collect data at stations and generate an evolutionary tree depicting hominin lineage. Kit includes: 8 primate skull replicas, labels and directions, student handout masters, teacher information and keys. Time required: 1-2 class periods (suggested following Primate Lab)

Social Studies, Culture, and Technology

  • Ancient Tools (Middle school, social studies): Hands-on stations with actual artifacts provide an opportunity for students to examine, analyze, and critically think about tool use, development, and significance in prehistoric times. Students are encouraged to approach artifacts analysis like an archaeologist by making careful observations and logical connections. A grinding station is included to provide a glimpse into the effort required to use stone tools. Kit includes: artifacts and labels for each station, teacher notes and directions, master copy of student packet, teacher key, and PowerPoint slide presentation of the stations for review with students upon completion of the activity. Time required: 1-2 class periods. Requirement to borrow this kit: attend (in person or virtually) a 15-minute overview with a Museum Educator
  • Fur Trade Adventure (Grade 3, social studies): Coming soon!
  • Technology over Time (K-Grade 5, social studies or technology): This kit is a great tool for teaching the concept of change over time. Hands-on stations with historical technology objects grouped into categories: telephone communication, photography, film and video, music, data storage, and more. Students work in groups to explore the examples of technology and determine their uses, describe change over time, and make comparisons with current technology. Students are challenged to consider what next steps in technology might occur and why. Time required: 1 class period
  • What are Civil Rights? (Grade 5, Grade 8, and high school U.S. History - Colonial America through Reconstruction): Provides introduction and contextualization for the study of civil rights and civil rights-related topics. Gives students opportunities to explore reproduction objects representing different groups' civil rights over time. Big Questions: What are civil rights? Who is impacted by civil rights, how, and why? How does the thread of civil rights efforts run throughout history? Kit includes objects, lesson plan, and student activity sheet. Time required: 1 or 2 class periods. AP U.S. History teachers - borrow both middle school and high school kits
  • What are Civil Rights? (High school, U.S. History - Reconstruction to present): Provides introduction and contextualization for the study of civil rights and civil rights-related topics. Gives students opportunities to explore reproduction objects representing different groups' civil rights over time. Big Questions: What are civil rights? Who is impacted by civil rights, how, and why? How does the thread of civil rights efforts run throughout history? Kit includes objects, lesson plan, and student activity sheet. Time required: 1 or 2 class periods. AP U.S. History teachers - borrow both middle school and high school kits

We are pleased to offer teaching materials designed to complement resources at the MSU Museum. Whether or not you can visit the Museum with your students, these materials provide ways to experience the resources in your classroom. Click on your selection below to access materials.

Elementary School

Social Studies at the MSU Museum: A list of MSU Museum exhibits and resources recommended for social studies

Middle School & High School

Practicing Exposition Techniques with the Ruby Bridges Quilt and the Quilt Index: A First-Year Writing lesson by MSU professor Dr. Cheryl Caesar

Social Studies at the MSU Museum: A list of MSU Museum exhibits and resources recommended for social studies

Adult Learners

Museum Object Activity: Guiding questions for exploring museum objects

Practicing Exposition Techniques with the Ruby Bridges Quilt and the Quilt Index: A First-Year Writing lesson by MSU professor Dr. Cheryl Caesar

Using Natural History to Engage with Theatre History at the MSU Museum: A museum-based activity for "Studies in Theatre History" (THR 431) by Dr. Daniel Smith, MSU Department of Theatre

Want to learn more about how you can use museum resources with your students?

Read any of our "Museum Teaching 101" pages below. If you have questions or would like support for museum-based teaching, please contact the Education Team. We are happy to work with you.

The MSU Museum offers online access to selected internal collections resources. We also are pleased to share collections and informational databases from other institutions. The Michigan State University Museum is the first collection holding unit established on campus. It has comprehensive natural science collections and the university's most extensive and diverse cultural collections. Michigan State University Museum’s collections are the tangible evidence of the diversity of nature and human cultures throughout the world and through time. are used for research, education, exhibition, outreach and engagement projects. The Museum preserves, protects, and cares for nearly one million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.  Researchers, educators, students, artists, and community members use the collections to create new knowledge, to be inspired, and to spark others’ curiosity and imagination. The collections are available for on-site research and teaching by appointment only. To schedule an appointment in the Cultural Collections, contact Lynne Swanson, Collection Manager for Cultural Collections by phone at 517.355.3304 or by email at swansonl@msu.edu. To schedule an appointment in the Vertebrate Collections, contact Laura Abraczinskas, Collections Manager for Vertebrate Collections, by phone at 517.355.1290 or by email at abraczi1@msu.edu.

Image of Collection of Michigan State University promotional buttonsCulture

Image of Mammal study skins in a collections drawerScience

  • AVoCet (Avian Vocalizations Center)
  • FishNet2 (Fish Specimen Database Network)
  • GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility)
  • IDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections)
  • VertNet (Vertebrate Collections Database Network)

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