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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 :

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

 

Take Action on Air Pollution

<p>This collection of resources invites students to examine how societies have been convinced to take action regarding air pollution over time, and to craft their own persuasive message regarding pollution. Students will identify several different means of compelling individuals and groups to change their behavior in order to benefit the environment. They will then evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies. Finally, they will create their own message convincing others to take steps towards improving the environment. </p><p>Tags: smoke control, smog, pollution, environmentalism, earth day, advertising, persuasive writing, ad campaign</p>
Kate Harris
9
 

Investigating a Place: North Carolina

What defines a place? This teacher's guide uses stamps, photographs, paintings, objects, videos, and music to explore the history and culture of North Carolina. In the classroom, these resources can be used by students to investigate two essential questions: How do you define North Carolina as a place? What does it mean to be from North Carolina? Further questions include: How do these objects relate to each other? What objects/people/places are missing that you think are important in defining North Carolina as a place? What sub-themes can you identify within this collection of resources? How do you define North Carolina in terms of its environmental characteristics? What are its unique set of physical and cultural conditions? Has the definition of being from North Carolina changed over time? Activity Idea: Ask students to investigate collection in small groups to answer the two essential questions. Use the supporting questions to guide their inquiry into the essential questions - answering these questions will give students a knowledge and evidence base from which to answer the essential questions. To further the activity, students may choose one resource to investigate in depth and either write an essay or create a collection of their own around it. Students may choose two or more resources to compare in their exploration of how one defines North Carolina. Ask students individually or in small groups to create a collection in Learning Lab to represent the physical and cultural characteristics of another place. Using these collections, ask students to write summary statements describing the unique human and physical characteristics of places researched. In class discuss student collections and what makes each place unique.
Kate Harris
44
 

TRETC Explores the Learning Lab

<p>Let's take a journey to see what the Smithsonian has for you and your students. We will use this as a FRIENDLY challenge, and as a way to explore the types of diverse resources and features found in the Learning Lab.</p>
Kate Harris
12
 

Attention-grabbing headlines don't always tell truth!

<p><strong>Attention-grabbing headlines don't always tell truth!</strong></p><p><strong>Pictures are powerful, sometimes edited!</strong></p><p><strong>Twitter doesn't tell whole story.</strong></p><p><br /></p><p>In the era of "fake news" and information overload, we all need to become better readers of the words and pictures that are used to explain what is going on in the world around us. In this activity, students and teachers will consider:</p><p><strong>How<span></span></strong><strong> can the choice of image or words convey different messages about current events? How do journalists and editors shape the news through their choices?</strong><br /></p><p>This student activity asks students to look at several images of young people resisting a law or recent event. Their task is to write two different headlines for that image designed to appeal to different audiences. They will also be asked to research the context for the image and to consider how that might impact their headlines. </p><p>The goals of this lesson are to:</p><ul><li>explore image and word choice as news drivers (factors that make items newsworthy or appealing to readers)</li><li>determine how journalists and editors shape the news through their choices</li><li>encourage news literacy and a critical reading of headlines and photojournalism in the future. </li></ul>
Kate Harris
15
 

Examining Icebergs

<p>What can we learn about global climate change by examining icebergs? This teaching collection provides resources to support a lesson on climate change and polar ice melt. It includes a video, link to a lesson plan and photo essay from the Global Oneness Project, images, and a Smithsonian article. </p><p>tags: climate change, global warming, iceberg, glacier, melt, temperature, environment</p>
Kate Harris
6
 

National Parks

This topical collection focuses on the establishment of a national parks system in the United States. Items in the collection can be used to address the following questions: -What is the difference between "conservation" and "preservation"? Which view towards nature seems to influence our national parks system today? -In United States history, there is often a tension between progress and protection, or change and tradition. How is that tension reflected in the story of the national parks system? Consider the economic demands of a growing nation and the impulse to make the natural world accessible to all members of U.S. society. Tags: Parks, environment, conservation, preservation, Muir, Sierra Club, Roosevelt
Kate Harris
19
 

Leonidas at Thermopylae

<p>This 2-resource collection is intended to introduce students to the Battle of Thermopylae through an artistic interpretation and a map and graph rendering. It could be used as a short bellringer, warm-up, or homework activity prior to in-class discussion of the battle.</p><p>Tags: Sparta, Greece, Greek, Persia, Xerxes</p>
Kate Harris
4
 

My Favorite Things

<p>In 2014-2015, artist and illustrator Maira Kalman created a personal collection that was displayed at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Her collection drew from across the Smithsonian museums and reflected a life story. Her inspiration and thinking is shared in the video resource that begins this collection, and some of the objects that she included (or similar ones) are shared.</p><p>Can you create your own collection of "favorite things"? What story would it tell? What people, places, and objects would it connect to? What emotions would it evoke?</p><p>tags: design, art, activity, personal, inspiration, creativity, biography</p>
Kate Harris
6
 

Artifacts from the Battlefield: WWI

This is a collection of artifacts from World War I, including photographs, uniforms, and some surprising contributors. Students will watch a video to observe how a curator connects an object (in this case a woman's AFFW uniform) to the person who used it, and then choose three objects from the collection to study before sharing findings with other classmates. Students should think about the guiding questions below as they investigate the objects in the collection. Guiding questions: How was World War I different from wars that came before? What impact did technology have on the war? What kinds of threats did soldiers face during World War I? How did soldiers find comfort during World War I? How might the experience of World War I have influenced the culture and politics of the years following it?
Kate Harris
14
 

Teaching about the Chicano Movement

<p>This collection gathers resources and artifacts pertaining to the Chicano Movement of the post-WWII era. The following paragraphs, from the Educating Change website, briefly define the movement:</p><p>The "Chicano Movement" has been used by historians to describe a moment of ethnic empowerment and protest among Americans of Mexican descent beginning in the 1960s. "Chicano" had long existed as a pejorative term among young Mexican Americans prior to this period. By the 1960s, however, young Mexican Americans embraced the label, reinscribing it with notions of pride in ones' Mexican heritage and defiance against institutions and individuals who practiced or condoned discrimination against Mexicans.</p><p>The "movement" or movimiento was really a convergence of multiple movements that historians have broken down into at least four components: [1] A youth movement represented in the struggle against discrimination in schools and the anti-war movement; [2] the farmworkers movement; [3] the movement for political empowerment, most notably in the formation of La Raza Unida Party; and [4] the struggle for control and ownership over "homelands" in the US Southwest (<a href="http://www.brown.edu/Research/Coachella/chicano.html">http://www.brown.edu/Research/Coachella/chicano.ht...</a>). We will add an additional component of [5] creating art and music to reflect and voice cultural pride. </p><p>Students will review the collection here and identify five items that connect to one of the components listed above. They will then create their own collection that acts as a digital exhibit, teaching others about the Chicano Movement. This assignment is described in further detail on the last resource in this collection.</p><p>This is a work-in-progress based on the digitized materials within the Smithsonian Learning Lab's collection--it is not meant to be wholly definitive or authoritative.<br /></p>
Kate Harris
36
 

Sitting for a Portrait

<p>Have you ever sat while someone painted your picture or took a photograph? How does it feel? What do you think about while it occurs? This student activity begins with a portrait of George Washington and a letter describing his attitude towards portraits. After students reflect on these, they will choose another portrait from the set and focus on developing observational skills and an attitude of empathy by examining the work closely and imagining the perspective of one of the people in the image. </p><p>Tags: portrait, point of view, perspective, Washington, Pine, de Kooning, John F. Kennedy, JFK, Norman Rockwell, Mitchell, Spalding, video, self-portrait</p>
Kate Harris
9
 

Globalization and Cultural Diffusion

<p>This student activity focuses on the concepts of globalization and cultural diffusion. Students will look at a variety of artifacts and explain how they illustrate the two concepts and/or help answer the guiding questions below:</p><ul><li>What is globalization and how does it affect people and places?</li><li>What leads to cultural diffusion?</li></ul>
Kate Harris
10