Skip to Content

Collections

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

Tuia te here tangata waka | Binding the ties of humanity canoe

This collection is built around a waka Māori currently on display in the National Museum of Natural History.
waka is a traditional canoe. It is designed as a portal to Te Ao Māori - The indigenous worldview  Māori are the native people of New Zealand. Its traditional name is Aotearoa meaning Land of the long white cloud.

This waka was made from a single 100-year old Tōtara tree. Tōtara is a large native New Zealand hardwood that grows throughout the North and South Island. It is light weighted and high natural oil content which prevents rotting or deterioration. Waka are extensions of Māori tribal history and are the traditional technology responsible for mobilising navigators across the Pacific Ocean. The infamous explorer Kupe, discovered New Zealand in 925 AD.

The name of the waka is Tuia te here tangata meaning Binding the ties of humanity. It celebrates the connection established in 1840 between the US Exploring expedition and Māori. The name and physical artefact hope to inspire understanding. The collection aims to digitally illustrate the mauri or life force of the waka. We can transform our wounds into wisdom by seeking first to understand, and then to be understood.

Anahera Hare
66
 

Are student rights protected in school?

This collection explores a number of Supreme Court cases all looking at the rights students have in the American public school system. Students will encounter these court cases through primary and secondary sources, videos, photographs, podcasts, and historical objects. At the end of the lesson, students should be able construct an argument based off the compelling question "Are student rights protected in school?"

Brenda Sandbulte
16
 

Every Picture Has a Story

In the lesson in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, students closely examines four of the 13 million photographs in the Smithsonian. The pictures represent four important steps in the history of the medium: the introduction of portrait photography, the invention of a photographic printing process, the capture of instantaneous action, and the advent of home photography.

Click on the PDF icon to download the issue.


Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
5
 

Self and Place: Reflections and Refractions

This lesson pairs Childe Hassam's Tanagra (The Builders, New York)  (1918) with Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892)  to help students consider the relationship(s) between character and space both in literature and in their own lives. 

For comparison and practice, the lesson could be repeated with Portrait of Mnonja by Mickalene Thomas (2010) and another work: "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker (1973), Baldwin's "Stranger in the Village," Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B." 

The collection includes an excerpt from the introduction of Edith Wharton's The Decoration of Houses (1898). Another document includes comments on interior design from multiple sources.

Finally, while the lesson centers on interior landscape/decor, the collection includes multiple examples of external architecture, to use in an alternative warm-up activity.  

#SAAMteach

Martha Bedeaux
19
 

The Universe: An Introduction

This issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom includes a lesson plan in which the class arranges pictures of heavenly bodies according to the students' best ideas of size, distance, and age. This active introduction to the cosmos can be a pre-assessment for a unit on space science. In a follow-up modeling exercise, relationships in space are brought down to a scale of two inches.

Click on the PDF icons to download the issue and ancillary materials.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
7
 

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
 

Image Analysis: "Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama" by Arthur Rothstein

Developing an inquiry-based strategy to support students can allow them to investigate objects and images as historians do. In this example, students try to reveal the story behind the image. They raise questions for their own further research. Because the image has only a title, the photographer's name, the "sitter"'s name, the place and the date, students have to rely on their own analysis of evidence in the image, rather than someone else's interpretation. When they read the expert's analysis, they will have already considered many of the elements that the expert highlights and can compare their interpretations.

"Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama" is a provocative photograph that can be used in discussions ranging from history of the South during the Great Depression, to social justice.

Ashley Naranjo
3
 

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
 

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
 

Pittsburgh's Urban Renewal: Resources for a Deliberative Forum

This collection was created to support a workshop on integrating primary sources and student writing for teachers at Peters Township High School. These resources can be used to design a document-based question to answer the following inquiry:

Were Pittsburgh's urban renewal programs in the 1950s and 60s ultimately helpful or harmful?

Teachers may want to excerpt the documents included in this collection before giving them to students to use. You may also want to introduce students to the concept of "purposeful annotation" as they read through the documents (resources included).

Finally, an articles on urban renewal today and a lesson plan from Global Oneness Project on gentrification and urban renewal in Seattle provide additional resources for teachers.

Tags: C3, Inquiry, urban renewal, demolition, construction, slums, Teenie Harris, Charles Olmstead, Pittsburgh

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation
19
 

Pittsburgh's Urban Renewal

This collection was created to support a workshop on integrating primary sources and student writing for teachers at Peters Township High School. These resources can be used to design a document-based question to answer the following inquiry:

Were Pittsburgh's urban renewal programs in the 1950s and 60s ultimately helpful or harmful?

Teachers may want to excerpt the documents included in this collection before giving them to students to use. You may also want to introduce students to the concept of "purposeful annotation" as they read through the documents (resources included).

Finally, an articles on urban renewal today and a lesson plan from Global Oneness Project on gentrification and urban renewal in Seattle provide additional resources for teachers.

Tags: C3, Inquiry, urban renewal, demolition, construction, slums, Teenie Harris, Charles Olmstead, Pittsburgh

Kate Harris
17
 

Are student rights protected in school?

This collection explores a number of Supreme Court cases all looking at the rights students have in the American public school system. Students will encounter these court cases through primary and secondary sources, videos, photographs, podcasts, and historical objects. At the end of the lesson, students should be able construct an argument based off the compelling question "Are student rights protected in school?"

Leah Knecht
16