Visual Aids for Middle School Research Projects

Updated on April 29, 2016

Examples of Visual Aids

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A diorama of a building that may have existed in Atlantis, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class. A painting of the sword Excalibur, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class. Tornado simulation made from soda bottles. Model of a car made from cardboard.
A diorama of a building that may have existed in Atlantis, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class.
A diorama of a building that may have existed in Atlantis, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class. | Source
A painting of the sword Excalibur, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class.
A painting of the sword Excalibur, made by a student in an 8th grade Language Arts class. | Source
Tornado simulation made from soda bottles.
Tornado simulation made from soda bottles. | Source
Model of a car made from cardboard.
Model of a car made from cardboard. | Source

Middle School Research Projects

There may be times in middle school when a student will be asked to make a project. Often, these projects will happen in a Language Arts class, a science class, an art class, or a foreign language class, even though it can happen in any class.

When the project is for a research assignment, it carries more weight for the student's grade. How can a student be sure he/she is making the best project to earn the best possible grade?

Read on to learn some valuable tips about making a middle school research project.

Visual Aid Ideas

What is your favorite type of visual aid?

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What is a Visual Aid?

A visual aid is a concrete object used to help an audience learn more about a topic. Research shows that when people use more than one of the five senses to learn about a topic, they are more likely to remember what they are learning, so showing an audience a visual aid while giving a speech is more effective than just giving a speech alone.

Here are some ideas of visual aids to use for a middle school research project:

•Diagram

•Drawn Map

•Diorama

•Sculpture

•Video

•PowerPoint/ Slide show

•Painting

•Drawing

•Song

•Skit

•Shadow box

•Mobile

What Items Can Be Used to Make Visual Aids

There are many materials that can be used to make visual aids. Some may have to be purchased while others may be upcycled, meaning they are objects that can be used again for a different purpose than originally intended (i.e. a shoe box becomes a shadow box).

Where can materials be found? New materials can be found in craft stores, home improvement stores, dollar stores, or superstore. Used materials can be found in the home, yard sales, flea markets, or in thrift stores.

If a student knows ahead of time about a research project, it would be best to start collecting all kinds of materials to have on hand for a visual aid. Waiting until the last minute only causes frustration and may have an impact on the visual aid's quality.

Materials to Make Visual Aids

Materials
 
 
glue
markers
felt
scissors
pencils
cloth
construction paper
crayons
popsicle sticks
shoe box
stickers
aluminum cans
jump drive/thumb drive/cd
beads
wood
paint
canvas
old clothing
plastic cups
plastic bottles
buttons
sand
glitter
sticks
clay
dough
ribbon
gift boxes
paper towel rolls
tissue paper
hangers
yarn
video camera
PowerPoint program
stamps
stencils
You can upcycle many of these materials from things you already have at home. Just take a look around and see what you can find!

How to Use Visual Aids for Speeches

If you are using your visual aid for a speech, it is important to think of a few things before making a visual aid:

  • What the speech is about. If you are giving a speech about the first sightings of Loch Ness Monster, your visual aid should be about those sightings and not just a map of Scotland showing where Loch Ness is located.
  • The time limit of the speech. If you are giving a speech in middle school, usually the speech needs to be 2-5 minutes long. Your visual aid should be either part of that 2-5 minutes or only be an extension for an additional 2-5 minutes to allow other students to present that day.
  • If the visual aid will be used during or after the speech. This depends on the topic of your speech and what type of visual aid you make. If you make a PowerPoint, it can be shown during your speech. If you made a diagram, diorama, painting, or sculpture, it can be shown during the speech, referenced as certain points about the topic are made. If you create a skit, make a movie, or write a song, it can be performed after the speech.
  • If the visual aid may be distracting during the speech. If you create something that moves, makes noise, or is otherwise distracting, it would be best to show the visual aid after your speech so that the other students can focus on your speech.

Bringing a Visual Aid to School

Depending on the size and type of your visual aid, you will have to consider how you will get it to school. If the project is small, it can be transported on the bus or in the car easily. If it is large, you may need a parent to help you bring it to the school as it may not be allowed on the bus. Think about these things prior to the due date of the project so you don't have any issues.

What to Do with a Visual Aid after a Project is Complete

When your school project is over, there are a few things you can do with your visual aid. If it is made of parts that can be upcycled or recycled, take it apart and either store parts for future projects or put them in a recycling bin. If it is well made, ask your teacher about entering it into a school fair or the library for exhibit.

Good luck with your visual aid!


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