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Kate Harris

Learning Lab Coordinator
Smithsonian Institution
Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)
Teacher/Educator
Language Arts And English, Civics, Literature, Cultures, Economics, Social Studies, Geography, Writing, US History, Arts, Other :
Learning Lab Coordinator

I'm a history-lover, art fan, and bookworm. I taught high school history (U.S. History and World Religions) for ten years in North Carolina, teach currently in Pittsburgh, PA,  and am working to help teachers make the most of this new resource!


Kate Harris's collections

 

Who provoked the Korean War?

"On June 25, 1990, the North Korean Army launches it surprise assault on the South." But what led up to this moment? This activity asks students to read primary source documents and interpret historical events surrounding the Korean conflict. Students will look for motives and evidence in a variety of accounts and determine who was responsible for starting the Korean War. <br /> <br /> There are resources with quiz questions that students can answer directly, or teachers may prefer to print documents and resources for in-class use. It is recommended that teachers preview the materials in this teaching collection as there are a variety of ways to structure the lesson.<br /> <br /> Essential questions include:<br /> -How would you describe the relationship between Kim Il Sung and Joseph Stalin?<br /> -Was North Korea, a smaller country, pulling a superpower into a conflict?<br /> -Was the Soviet Union using North Korea to further its goals?<br /> -Why did the United States choose to respond via the United Nations forces instead of unilaterally? How did this decision impact the conflict?<br /> -How does this incident reflect larger themes and issues of the Cold War, especially the role of the United Nations, over-arching foreign policy strategy, and nuclear fears?<br /> <br /> Tags: Wilson Center, Cold War, Korea, China, Truman, Eisenhower, Macarthur, Soviet Union, USSR, Communism
Kate Harris
17
 

Cold War Fears

<p>This is a topical collection about American fears during the Cold War. What were Americans afraid of? How were these fears expressed in United States culture? How successfully did the government address these fears?</p><p><br /><br /></p><p>Students and teachers may want to explore the resources in this collection to consider the psychological impact of the Cold War and how Americans prepared themselves for the unknown. </p><p><br /><br /></p><p>Tags: Cold War, McCarthy, UFOs, aliens, space race, fallout shelters, Civil Defense, radiation, spies, Hiss, Rosenberg, Murrow, Sputnik, cause and effect</p>
Kate Harris
15
 

The "Wild West"?

<p>The West has always held a special place in American culture. In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner wrote what is known as the "frontier thesis," arguing that our sense of democracy and hard work has been shaped by experience of survival and growth along the frontier. More than a century later, Americans still idolize the cowboy image and are fascinated by the train robbers, saloons, and violence of the era. How accurate is our mental picture of the "Wild West"? What were the realities of life on the frontier in the late 19th and early 20th century? What was lost and what was gained as America closed out the frontier? Most importantly, why has the West continued to fascinate Americans and play such a prominent role in popular culture?</p> <p>This learner resource includes images, artifacts, and movies that deal with the concept of the American West.  Students will want to read Turner's essay and answer the attached questions. Then, they will focus on choosing images and ideas to include in a movie trailer or poster advertisement that presents a more accurate image of turn of the century western life.</p>
Kate Harris
29
 

Quilt Quest

<p>Did you know that quilts are also historical artifacts? Use this collection to learn more about how curators investigate quilts to learn about their origins, and then explore a variety of different quilts that tell us important things about the time in which they were made and the crafters who made them. Finally, make your own quilt depicting an important historical moment. </p><p>tags: quilt, craft, activity, review</p>
Kate Harris
19
 

History of Mormons in America

<p>This collection of artifacts, photographs, texts, and historical markers is intended to help students explore the history of the Mormon religion in America. </p><p>Each of these items is intended to spark inquiry, following the process below: </p><ol><li>Students should choose one artifact on which to focus. </li><li>Have them use the artifact analysis PDF (last resource) to begin their study of the artifact. </li><li>Next, have students generate questions about the artifact? What do they wonder about? What does it tell them about the Mormon religion or its history within the United States? </li><li>Have students complete some general research on their artifact that will help their classmates piece together the story of the Mormon experience.</li></ol><p>As a collaborative project, students should use the PBS Forced Migrations map/timeline as a model for a class map/timeline of their own. </p><ol><li>Project an image of the map on a class whiteboard or create your own basic outline using large paper. </li><li>Have each student present their research findings. The main questions they should answer are: What does it represent about the Mormon experience? Where would the artifact they chose be placed (geographically and in terms of chronology)? </li><li>Students should then place place their image on the map with significant dates noted. </li><li>After all groups have presented, review the narrative of the Mormon experience with the class. What would they identify as critical moments in Mormon history? What questions do they still have?</li></ol><div>Tags: religion, Moroni, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Mormon, New York, Utah, Illinois, gold plates, inquiry</div>
Kate Harris
18
 

The 1960s--A Decade Collection

<p>This is a topical collection about American life and politics in the 1960s. Resources in this collection might be helpful to students and teachers working on projects about the decade. It is not meant to be completely comprehensive, but rather includes highlights of the Smithsonian's collection spanning art, popular culture, social trends, leadership, and technology.</p><p>Teachers and students might copy and adapt this collection to suit their needs; highlighting a specific aspect of life in the 1960s and adding annotations and additional resources.</p><p>tags: Sixties, Kennedy, Camelot, civil rights, Vietnam, politics, decade</p>
Kate Harris
97
 

Nixon in Political Cartoons

<p>This collection includes nine political cartoons about Richard Nixon's presidency and the Watergate scandal, as well as a cartoon analysis worksheet from the National Archives and Record Administration and a link to more cartoons about Nixon at the Library of Congress.</p><p>Teachers may use this collection in many ways: by assigning individual students or groups cartoons to analyze and share with the class via presentations, using the "jigsaw" format to create expert groups on each cartoon and then share information that way, or by creating a gallery walk of cartoons for students to work on individually. Students might even create their own political cartoon about the Nixon presidency, focusing on one of several topics: Watergate, ping-pong diplomacy, detente, visit to Moscow, environmental protections, the "southern strategy," busing, his relationship with the press, Vietnam, and more. </p>
Kate Harris
11
 

Pittsburgh's Urban Renewal

<p>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:</p><p>Were Pittsburgh's urban renewal programs in the 1950s and 60s ultimately helpful or harmful?</p><p>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).</p><p>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.</p><p>Tags: C3, Inquiry, urban renewal, demolition, construction, slums, Teenie Harris, Charles Olmstead, Pittsburgh</p>
Kate Harris
17
 

Responses to Immigration: Then and Now

<p>This collection will prompt thinking about attitudes towards new immigrants throughout our nation's history. What has changed and what has stayed the same?</p><p>It is also designed to allow users to explore the range of technical features and content resources available in the Smithsonian Learning Lab.</p><p>tags: immigrant, America, assimilate, nativism, stereotypes</p>
Kate Harris
10
 

Weikers Family Collection Class Warm-Up

<p>This is a single document with hot spots and questions used to model primary source analysis for a sixth grade class. It is drawn from a collection of archival records and photographs documenting the Weikers family's experience in Nazi Germany and their persistent efforts to seek asylum in the United States. You can find the full collection here:</p><p>https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/weikers-family-collection/zGJCDjyWqouEufnb</p><p>Questions to consider are:</p><p>a. Who are the Weikers?</p><p>b. Where did they live?</p><p>c. When did they live? What can they tell us about this time in history?</p><p>d. How were they affected by Nazi Germany?</p><p>e. What did they feel about the Nazis?</p><p>Tags: Nazi Germany, Holocaust era, primary sources, Pittsburgh</p>
Kate Harris
2
 

Portraits of James Baldwin

<p>This student activity begins with an analysis of two portraits of James Baldwin by different artists. Then, students are asked to create their own portrait of Baldwin by remixing source material from this collection. Student portraits should answer the following questions:</p><p>1. How do you think James Baldwin should be remembered?</p><p>2. What are Baldwin's contributions to American life and culture?</p><p>Students may need to do additional research on Baldwin and his life in order to complete this assessment. This is an opportunity for students to learn about and explore the life of a revolutionary writer who presents a unique view of the civil rights movement and status of African-Americans in the United States.</p>
Kate Harris
25