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Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative: English/Language Arts Standards
 

Three Branches of U.S. Government

This collection was designed to be used in a third grade classroom to supplement the teaching of the three branches of U.S. government.  The collection would be utilized over the course of a week-long unit.

Objective: Students will be able to identify and explain the purpose of the three branches of the U.S. government.

#PZPGH

Monique Wertz
23
 

World War II on the Home Front: Civic Responsibility

Lesson based on posters that encouraged American citizens to contribute to the war effort. Students consider the importance of volunteerism in a free society.
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
4
 

Introduction to the Nature Journal

Lesson plan in which students practice writing and observation skills by keeping nature journals. They observe animals on the National Zoo’s webcam and write about the behaviors they see, making hypotheses based on these observations.
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
13
 

Botany and Art and Their Roles in Conservation

Lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce students to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. The students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian artist. Also included here are additional resources on the topic: a one-hour webinar and a website.

Click the PDF icons to download the issue and lesson materials.


Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
11
 

Jazz Musicians

This project is just the library portion of a much bigger cross-classroom project, utilizing art, music, library, and classroom teachers. This collection first focuses on visual analysis of artworks and photographs as a lead-in for further research into individual musician’s biographies.

During their library time, students are introduced to important Jazz musicians.  Then they research those musicians and put the information they learn together with the information gained from the other special areas and in their classroom to think about how Jazz has changed over time and what made the musicians who they were.  

Day 1: See, Think, Wonder - we look at the photograph together and they come up with their sticky notes for later discussions.

Day 2: Discussion: Who are these people, why are they important, and what did we notice about this painting.  We then compare the painting to the very colorful Duke Ellington photo, followed by a few more of famous musicians.  We discuss the different ways color and diversity is shown and how that is important for the time the music was being created.  

Day 3-5: Students will pick musicians and begin to research about their lives.  They will use our online databases (ie. WorldBook) to get background information.  They will then do an illustration of their person and put in important words/phrases to show how their life shaped who they became.  These drawings are then hung and used for further discussions.

List of possible musicians to research (we use more as needed for the students to work in pairs): Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Romare Bearden, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Jellie roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Count Bassie, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis

The overall grade level project looks at African American music over time and how it has changed from African Tribal songs up thru Jazz in the 50s-60s and beyond.  Then they discuss how it has fused into something new and ever changing.

#PZPGH

Nicole Wilkinson
7
 

Six Degrees of Separation: An APUSH Review Activity

Use this collection as a starting point for an AP United States History review activity that emphasizes connections and cause-and-effect. Students will copy the collection and add in four resources that form a chain of connection from one item to another (ending with six resources total). For each resource, they should add an annotation describing each of the events or items included, analyzing any important details in the resources themselves, and explaining how each connects to the next one.
Hattie Petty
2
 

Crossroads - Faces of American Agricultural Innovation

In this lesson, students will learn about the lives and innovations of the following people:

  • Dolores Huerta 
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick
  • George Washington Carver
  • Rachel Louise Carson
  • Robert Fraley
  • Eli Whitney
  • Norman Borlaug

This resource provides informative text on each slide, as well as videos and articles from outside educational resources. This resource is created for students to navigate independently, and includes optional biography and compare/contrast worksheet activities. 

SITES Museum on Main Street
18
 

Activity Collection: Botany Field Book

This teaching guide includes a lesson plan originally published as "Smithsonian in Your Classroom." It introduces students to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators. The students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of Smithsonian artists. Also included here is an additional optional resource: "Meet the Artist" to discover more about Smithsonian Botanical Illustrator Alice Tangerini.



This is one of 5 activities used in the Lenovo Week of Service event.

#visiblethinking

Teresa Maddox
15
 

Building a Metaphor

Introduction:  Exploring the Legacy of Roberto Clemente

How does our world influence our lives and how do we contribute to the world? Far from Roberto Clemente’s birthplace of Puerto Rico stands a bridge in his name. In what ways does this bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, represent Roberto Clemente’s legacy? By applying Project Zero routines, student groups build bridges as metaphors to explore the legacy of Roberto Clemente.

Building Bridges: An Approach to Understanding Product and Process  

How might our Learning Lab investigation combine with the design process to deepen concept understanding and uncover complexity? What are the benefits of shifting our learning environments to cultures of contributions in communities of learning for all students and teachers?  What connections can we find between Roberto Clemente’s legacy and our construction process?  

Within the arc of the lesson are opportunities for teacher-led routines and independent/small group application. With a stress on process, the reflection opportunities are embedded within the design steps as students use thinking routines to translate research findings into elements of a bridge to share understanding. The thinking routines included within this collection are rooted in Project Zero research including Making Thinking Visible, Global Thinking, Agency by Design, and Edward Clapp's Participatory Creativity.


Procedure Part 1: Exploration and Documentation

The first phase of this lesson provides learners with opportunities to explore the life of Roberto Clemente. Begin by displaying the first piece in the collection, the portrait. Find a link to lines of inquiry by clicking the paperclip icon. Find questions and thinking models to promote close looking to help students make connections and support claims with evidence.  Document ideas and highlight the hanging questions generated with the goal of understanding Roberto Clemente’s life, or legacy.  

The next pieces in the collection go together. One is a link for learning the +1 Routine for viewing the other, the movie “What Roberto Clemente Meant to Baseball”. Allow the learners to share key concepts about Roberto’s Legacy adding to earlier documentation (suggestion: collect ideas on sticky notes and display on the board). 

Pose the question referencing the ongoing documentation: “What are we noticing about influence and contributions? What influenced Roberto’s legacy and what contributions did Roberto make to the world?”  Display Circles of Influence to Study Legacy for sharing and organizing this thinking as the research resumes. Model the process of taking the ideas collected during the exploration and placing them within the different circles (each circle could be a separate poster with another poster between them). 

The next steps could take different configurations, from teacher-led to small groups/individuals, to match the needed levels of support and modeling.  Using these learning lab resources, students explore the pieces and website links to interact and collect ideas. Over time, findings are shared on the class input/output posters based on the Circles of Influence to Study Legacy. Provide opportunities for the whole group to explain, discuss, and refine the findings. Keep this thinking visible for the next part of this lesson.

 

Procedure Part 2: Building Understanding Through the Construction Process  

Share how a bridge is named after Roberto Clemente located just outside of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, PNC Park. Ask how this might be a fitting symbol, or metaphor for Roberto’s legacy. By making connections to collective findings from Part 1, groups are tasked with building a symbolic bridge to represent Roberto Clemente’s legacy. Using the Parts/Purposes/Process routine, groups document the process contributions as well as how characteristics of bridge pieces (and the bridge as whole) connect to different aspects of Roberto’s legacy (look back at documentation from part 1).     

Materials and tools provided may vary (cardboard, construction paper, blocks, Legos…) depending on time, space, and age group. In addition, one member of each group is selected to document different types of contributions members make in the task. Meet with this set of observers to discuss the task and explain how they will also be doing this documentation while also participating. Review and provide the Participatory Inventory tracking sheet. Also, prepare large Parts/Purposes/Process charts for each group. The construction time is ideal for asking student groups to unpack the thinking as it takes shape.


  Closure

When groups have completed construction and analysis, allow time for a gallery walk. The Connect-Extend-Challenge (connections to ideas documented by other groups) routine can support this type of thinking for closing discussions as ideas are shared about metaphor, process, and implications.

#pzqvsd

@ErikLindemann_

#pzpgh 


 

Erik Lindemann
28
 

The Race to Space: Understanding the Cold War Context of the Apollo 11 Mission

By using this collection, learners will . . .

  • Use primary sources to understand a range of perspectives on the Space Race.
  • Understand why the United States was concerned about the Soviet space program.
  • Be able to analyze the Cold War era context of the Space Race and draw their own conclusions about the success of the Space Race.
HeinzHistoryCenterEducation
22
 

Crossroads - Faces of American Agricultural Innovation

In this lesson, students will learn about the lives and innovations of the following people:

  • Dolores Huerta 
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick
  • George Washington Carver
  • Rachel Louise Carson
  • Robert Fraley
  • Eli Whitney
  • Norman Borlaug

This resource provides informative text on each slide, as well as videos and articles from outside educational resources. This resource is created for students to navigate independently, and includes optional biography and compare/contrast worksheet activities. 

Kate Wilcox
18
 

Six Degrees of Separation Example: Lincoln's Axe to William Jennings Bryan

This is a finished version of the "Six Degrees of Separation" AP USH review activity, including annotations explaining the links between objects. This may be useful to share with students the first time you try the activity. Note that connections should be deeper than similarities or coincidental links; they should reflect a causal relationship. In addition, you might ask students to present some analysis of the resources they chose, identifying key details.

The original activity is available here: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/six-degrees-of-separation-an-apush-review-activity/C1stNx2FioYNAkWP#r

#historicalthinking


Kate Harris
6
 

Activity Collection: Botany Field Book

This teaching guide includes a lesson plan originally published as "Smithsonian in Your Classroom." It introduces students to the work of botanists and botanical illustrators. The students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of Smithsonian artists. Also included here is an additional optional resource: "Meet the Artist" to discover more about Smithsonian Botanical Illustrator Alice Tangerini.



This is one of 5 activities used in the Lenovo Week of Service event.

#visiblethinking

Cody Coltharp
15
 

Controversies in America

Issues Debated in America - An introductory activity for high school students to apply the major thinking skills needed for understanding and analyzing American History.
Cindy Horvath
30
 

Six Degrees of Separation: An APUSH Review Activity

Use this collection as a starting point for an AP United States History review activity that emphasizes connections and cause-and-effect. Students will copy the collection and add in four resources that form a chain of connection from one item to another (ending with six resources total). For each resource, they should add an annotation describing each of the events or items included, analyzing any important details in the resources themselves, and explaining how each connects to the next one.
Kate Harris
2