Gallery walk is an active teaching strategy that gets students out of their seats and moving around the classroom to different learning stations that display artifacts related to the class activities. A gallery walk is a good way to assess what students have learned about the content being taught. The artifacts of a gallery walk can be anything from open-ended questions about the content being taught, to photographs related to the content, or even to demonstrations or finished projects. Often students work through a gallery walk in pairs or small groups. Each group visits each display station, taking notes on what they learn, then talking afterward to reflect upon their learning.
How to Use the Gallery Walk
The following are some of the ways this teaching approach is used to engage students:
Students working in groups can follow a topic in current events, then organize a gallery walk to inform their peers about topics in the news and decide how to take action. Resources might include photographs, maps, infographics, articles, editorial cartoons, essays, videos, and whatever else they can find to immerse others in the topic.
To build background for assigned readings for the unit, have students complete a gallery walk with primary sources. Sources can include poetry, images, and quotes from historical figures.
Students can gain experience with synthesizing variables involved in soil formation for different environments by studying climate, vegetation, parent material, topography, and time and how each contributes to soil properties. Students rotate through different stations where each has different images of soil from five different locations, showing both a surface view depicting land use as well as a soil profile. At each station, students make notes regarding their observations of the variables listed.
Impact on Learning
According to SERC, Pedagogy in Action, Why Use a Gallery Walk, this strategy can impact instruction through:
- Dedicating time for students to practice discussing, debating, organizing, and writing about the topic the rather than just hearing ideas presented by the instructor.
- Promoting the use of higher order thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and synthesis.
- Emphasizing the collaborative, constructive nature of knowledge.
- Encouraging alternative approaches to problems, because students are exposed to a variety of perspectives posted at different discussion “stations.”
- Reassuring students that their voices, ideas, and experiences are valued.
- Providing an opportunity to gauge prior knowledge, skills, and misconceptions.
- Promoting team building, fostering debate, and encouraging consensus as students work together to accurately represent group members’ ideas at different gallery walk “stations.”
- Encouraging movement around classroom as groups move from “station” to “station.”
Gallery walks can be assessed informally and through more formal evaluation involving oral and written presentations. A simple information assessment might include a brief discussion about the process.
Rubrics can be used as a form of formal evaluation. Rubrics for oral reports, group work, and written reports all have evaluation criteria that can be useful for assessing the success of a gallery walk. Examples of rubrics are available at SERC https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/assessment.html.
Gallery Walk in Canvas
In Canvas, VoiceThread can be used to create and conduct an online digital gallery walk. VoiceThread is an online communication and presentation tool that can be used to easily share images, videos, voice comments, documents, and written comments. Penn State provides students and faculty access and support to using VoiceThread at http://voicethread.psu.edu.
Online digital gallery walk: To conduct a gallery walk online, use Sites at Penn State to create a course wiki with a page for each gallery walk exercise. Students are assigned to groups for each problem or project. They then create the content for each station in digital format. The students can visit and view the answers or projects posted for each of the virtual stations and they can continue to add content, edit, and correct any of the problems they worked on.
Step-by-step directions on how to create a gallery walk activity are available from SERC Pedagogy in Action online at http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/index.html.
Things to Consider
For successful implementation of the gallery walk, you should consider the following strategies:
- Divide participants into groups.
- Assign each group a specific segment of the topic being covered.
- Be clear that each person has to understand the text and images on the poster in order to present the information effectively.
- Allow time for the groups to help one another focus on key components to be shared at each station.
- Use whatever space you have available around the room or in the hallway.
- Give specific directions at which station each group will start and what the rotation will look like.
- Identify a speaker for each station.
- Plan a short activity to debrief after all groups have visited each station.
“Assessing Gallery Walk.” Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College. Last modified on June 20, 2015. http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/assessment.html.
“Expeditionary Learning.” New York State Education Department (2013). https://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/appendix_protocols_and_resources.pdf.
Francek, Mark. “Promoting Discussion in the Science Classroom Using Gallery Walks.” Journal of College Science Teaching. Last modified on August 14, 2006. http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=52391.
Gonchar, Michael. “50 Ways to Teach with Current Events.” The New York Times. Last modified on October 7, 2014. http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/07/50-ways-to-teach-current-events/?_r=0.
Hogan, John. “Gallery Walks.” Missouri S&T. Last modified in December 2008. https://sites.google.com/a/mst.edu/certi/flc-active-learning/gallerywalks.
“What is Gallery Walk?” Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College. Last modified April 2, 2008. http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/what.html
“Why Use Gallery Walk?” Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College. Last modified on September 8, 2008. http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/why.html.