Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Found 164 Learning Lab Collections
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.
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.
In lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, portraits of Lincoln introduce a study of the Civil War. An analysis of the portraits—including the famous “cracked-plate" photograph, two plaster “life masks," and an eyewitness drawing of Lincoln's arrival in the enemy capital of Richmond, Virginia—leads to an analysis of the times.
Click on the PDF icons to download the issue and larger images of the portraits.
Students take on a local environmental challenge in the lesson plans of this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom. Before deciding on a problem to tackle, they try interviewing local folks about the state of the community's environment and how it has changed through the years.
Click the PDF icon to see the Smithsonian in Your Classroom. Then check out oral-history interviewing tips on the site of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife. Also included below is an audio presentation on deer life by Smithsonian scientist Bill McShea.
In a lesson in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, students do the work of a team of paleontologists studying a time of rising carbon dioxide and rapid global warming during the Eocene epoch. By examining fossils of tree leaves, and then incorporating the findings into a mathematical formula, they are able to tell average annual temperatures 55 million years ago. Really!
Click the PDF icons to download the issue and additional materials.
Did you know that Thomas Jefferson offered his own huge book collection as a replacement when British troops burned the Library of Congress? Or that John F. Kennedy was the youngest ever elected president—and the youngest to die in office? Click on each portrait to enlarge. Then click the paperclip icon to learn a little something about that president. You'll find such fast facts as political party, vice president, and first lady. "Mr. President" also includes a quote from each man.
These Activity pages, each on a single theme, include word and number games, art exercises, and fun quizzes. With each activity, kids learn about something new, from the anatomy of the giant squid to the history of chocolate.
Lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus is on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the ballad stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the blues stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Poetry is put into terms of movement, physical space, and, finally, music.
Click the PDF icon to download the issue. Click on the boxes (then click again on "View original") for audio samples of ballads and blues from the Smithsonian Folkways archives.
In this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, students examine handcrafted dolls from the National Museum of the American Indian. They draw connections between these objects and Native cultures, communities, and environments.
In lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, students explore the weathering of buildings, which begins the minute the buildings are built. Physical breakdown (such as rock fracture), chemical weathering, and pollution are all key ingredients in this discussion of the geology of the built environment. Also included is a guide to gravestone weathering.
Click the PDF icon to download the issue.
Shape-note singing is a tradition that began in the American South as a simple way to teach the reading of music to congregations. Each note head has a distinctive, easy-to-remember shape. What a great way, then, to introduce the reading of music to children!
In this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom, "A Shape-Note Singing Lesson," you'll find a lesson plan and a background essay. Click the PDF icon to see the issue. Click the last box for audio samples of shape-note hymns from the Smithsonian Folkways archives.
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.
CURIO is a trading card game that challenges you to discover patterns and connections to create your own museum-inspired collections. While the printed version of cards is available only as a special giveaway at select educational conferences and events, you can download and print the game using the PDF file below.
From Egyptian mummies to postage stamps, you'll learn about amazing artifacts and artworks in the Smithsonian while having fun collecting cards with your friends.
Players create a collection of at least three cards having a specific theme. They collect new cards by trading with other players. At the end of the game, players present their collections and have other players guess the themes. For 3-8 players.
This 1995 issue of From Art to Zoo looks at the ways people have been honored with memorials. Students create their own memorial after examining examples in their own community and around the world. Click on the PDF icon to download the issue.
This 1991 issue of From Art to Zoo introduces kites and kiting into the classroom. Students to learn of the history of kites, write kite poems and stories, and build their own kites. Click on the PDF icon to download the issue.
"Blacks in the Westward Movement," "What Can You Do with a Portrait?" and "Of Beetles, Worms, and Leaves of Grass"
The premier (1976) issue of Art to Zoo contains three sections on three different subjects: the experiences of African Americans in westward expansion, the use of portrait art in the classroom, and the ordinary lawn as a habitat for plants and animals. Click the PDF icon to download the issue.
Playing Historical Detective: Great-Grandmother's Dress and Other Clues to the Life and Times of Annie Steel
In this 1981 issue of Art to Zoo, students become detectives piecing together the
life of a nineteenth century woman by examining primary source documents and
artifacts. Click the PDF icon to download.
This 1979 issue of Art to Zoo demonstrates that the ancient art of puppetry can be an effective means of integrating creative activities—writing, acting, crafts—with the traditional core of studies. Click the PDF icon to download.
This 1976 issue of Art to Zoo offers ideas for activities before a classroom visit to a museum.
Included is a student chart on museum careers and tips on introducing students to abstract art.
Click the PDF icon to download.
This 1995 issue of Art to Zoo includes printable maps and classroom/take-home activities. Students learn how ocean currents influence weather patterns and climate. They conduct an experiment on the differing heat capacities of water and air, and find and label port cities around the globe. Below are some of the port cities represented in artworks from Smithsonian galleries.
This 1980 issue of Art to Zoo explores the storytelling potential of textiles and the ways textiles can be used to enliven many areas of the curriculum. The textiles range from household items to the Star-Spangled Banner to an Egyptian mummy's wrap. Click the PDF icon to download the issue.