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Create a Collection

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Creating your own collections and customizing resources to fit your needs makes the Learning Lab a one-of-a-kind resource for efficiency and creativity. Free your imagination – you can create collections using the Smithsonian's vast resources, add your own resources or those from other sources, annotate the objects you collect, develop your own quizzes and more. Create complete lessons or artistic collections, and build upon each for more personal and memorable learning.

Suggested Resources

 

Mary & Katy: See, Think, Wonder & Compare

Artful thinking routines to explore, critique, compare and contrast portraits of Mary Cassatt and Katy Perry from the National Portrait Gallery. #npgteach
Micah Haddock
6
 

Angles in Motion

Students will first observe the portrait of Martha Graham, and figure out who she is based on what it communicates about her. Then the observation of the angles in her pose will help students create a scale drawing of this piece. This activity combines thinking routines about looking at a portrait with the mathematical concepts of angles and scale.

Created for the National Portrait Gallery Learning to Look Summer Institute, 2016 #NPGteach
Rachel Slezak
7
 

Animal Adaptations: Beaks

A collection focused on a variety of bird beaks and their functions: including Sharp Beaks, Flat Beaks, Conical Beaks, Chisel Beaks, Probing Beaks, Filter Beaks, Curved Beaks and Fishing Beaks.
Jon Berg
15
 

Visions of the Future

This student activity includes a range of visions of the future, to serve as inspiration and present a challenge for students: what do you want your city to be like in the future?

Students will watch a video where students complete a similar project, and then view a variety of artifacts presenting different views of the future, with questions for analysis. Finally, students will be tasked with developing their own vision for their city or town in the future.
Kate Harris
15
 

Writing Inspiration: Using Art to Spark Narrative Story Elements

The Smithsonian museum collection inspires many to research the history behind artifacts, but this collection explores the use of art and artifacts to spark creative story writing. Students will choose artifacts to craft characters, a setting, and a plot conflict to create and write a narrative story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Narrative, protagonist , antagonist, character, character traits, setting, plot, climax, and conflict.

After reading and analyzing several narrative stories for story elements such as character, setting, plot, climax, and conflict, students will use this collection to begin planning their own narrative stories.
Individuals or partners will first view the portraits and discuss possible stories behind each face before choosing a protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. They may begin to discuss and imagine character traits for each subject.
Next, the student will select a landscape setting in which the story may take place. The writer will describe the landscape, imagine a time period, and name the location.
Finally, the student will either choose an action artifact around which to build a major plot event, or have that slide as a minor scene in their story.
Students may use the Question Formulation Technique to garner ideas for background stories behind the faces. http://rightquestion.org/
Once the story elements are in place, the students may begin to draft narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

With the artifacts selected as the major story elements, the students may begin crafting their narrative story. The artifacts can then be displayed as illustrations in the published narratives.
Kathy Powers
66
 

Compare and Contrast Looking Strategy: Learning to Look with the National Portrait Gallery

In this collection, we look at portraiture through the lens of comparing and contrasting two portraits. This looking strategy allows participants to consider similarities and differences between two portraits. Consider using portraits of the same individual at two different point in his or her life, portraits by the same artist, or portraits by different artists of similar subject matter.

Included in this collection are examples of portraits National Portrait Gallery educators have had success with when facilitating the compare and contrast looking strategy while teaching in the galleries: Pocahontas, Shimomura Crossing the Delaware and Washington Crossing the Delaware, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, LL Cool J and John D. Rockefeller
Briana White
22
 

3D-Printing and Scanning

A collection of 3D printing and scanning applications from the Smithsonian.
Brian Ausland
6
 

My Smithsonian Closet

You could be exceptionally well-dressed if the Smithsonian were your closet.
Kate Harris
29