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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

 

Running Fence

This teaching collection includes images and video of Running Fence, a work of installation art by Christo and Jean Claude. Included at the end is a lesson plan that engages students in analysis of Running Fence and details the steps for a student-designed installation art work at their school. Learning goals include: • Define installation art • Analyze the process and results of the work of Jean-Claude and Christo to develop Running Fence • Use the design process to develop a proposal for an installation art piece • Use persuasive speaking skills to pitch your plan to the relevant stakeholders in your school community • Plan and execute a piece of installation art on your school grounds, working cooperatively with a team
Kate Harris
46
 

From Silk Worms to the Silk Road

This is a collection of resources that could be used to support a lesson on the discovery of silk and the impact of the silk road(s). Artifacts include images of silkworms and the silk-making process, websites with information about the luxuries traded on the Silk Road, and video summary. Possible guiding questions include: -Why did silk become such an important commodity in China? -How did the development of the silk trade routes impact both Europe and Asia? -In what ways do artifacts from Europe and Asia reveal the cultural connections created by the Silk Road?
Kate Harris
19
 

Ancient Egypt: A Variety of Artifacts

A topical collection to be used for student research projects.
Kate Harris
55
 

Pennants, Pins, Paintings & Posters: Artifacts of Political Protest

A mixed bag of artifacts of political and social protest movements in United States history. This collection can serve as a source of inspiration for students creating their own protest posters around a cause they believe in. The collection begins with a video by KQED Art School describing the characteristics of political art and a formula for making it.
Kate Harris
42
 

Samurai Armor

This collection invites students to consider samurai armor as both functional and expressive objects. The collection includes two informative videos, several examples of samurai armor, photographs, and quiz questions. It finishes with an optional extension activity to make and decorate an origami samurai helmet. This collection can be used independently by students. Guiding questions to consider are: 1) Why does the material, design, and purpose of an item of clothing matter? 2) How did samurai use their armor to affirm their social status? 3) How did samurai armor evolve over time and reflect changes in Japanese culture?
Kate Harris
19
 

Identifying Characteristics of Renaissance Art

This collection will teach you about how Renaissance artists changed the style and focus of art in the period between 1300 and 1600 CE. When you are done, you should be able to thoroughly answer the question: How did the art of the Renaissance reflect the new emphasis on humanism and science? First, review the painting, Raphael's School of Athens, and learn about the new techniques used. Then study the additional works in the collection and try to use them as examples of the different techniques. Some of the works are from the Renaissance period and others are more modern interpretations. A worksheet is included at the end of this collection to record your work. Finally, test your knowledge with a quick quiz. Use your worksheet to help!
Kate Harris
11
 

The Maya People Today

This collection includes many videos, in English and Spanish, and resources showing how the Mayan people living today have preserved their traditions while adjusting to modern life. Students can use the collection to learn about the values and traditions that remain important in Mayan life today. Those who want to learn more about the ancient Maya should view this collection: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/the-achievements-of-ancient-mayan-civilization/Cb7G8r7LdVF6mGqm
Kate Harris
23
 

The Achievements of Ancient Mayan Civilization

This collection reviews the major achievements of the ancient Mayan civilization, including its great cities, use of writing, calendar, religious beliefs, art, and architecture. Resources are provided as a basis for student research. Several of the videos are available in Spanish and English and would be useful for a Spanish language teacher who wants students to research the Maya. Guiding questions to consider while reviewing this collection: 1) In what ways did observation of the sun influence multiple facets of ancient Mayan life? 2) Which elements of ancient Mayan life persist in Mayan culture today? 3) How are art, religion, and architecture seemingly intertwined in ancient Mayan culture? 4) What are the various theories about the demise of the ancient Mayans? This collection focuses on the achievements of the ancient Mayans; however, it is critical to remember that the Maya are a living people and continue to preserve old traditions while building new ones in the modern world. For those interested, here is a collection on the modern Maya: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/the-maya-people-today/yKMyzCEPMadkGgA8.
Kate Harris
25
 

How Radio Changed America

The technology for radio communications advanced during World War I, but it wasn't until the 1920s that commercial broadcasting grew and everyone wanted a radio for their home. Radio had a huge impact on creating a "mass media" that bound together the nation. As students explore this collection, they will look for evidence proving that radio changed America in four different areas: -Politics -Entertainment and Sports -Religion -Advertising Possible assignments using this collection include: 1) Writing an essay evaluating the statement "Radio created a mass culture in America." 2) Researching a particular figure in radio's early history and sharing findings with classmates. 3) Creating a 1920s radio program that featured key people and trends from the decade. This could be recorded and shared in the form of a podcast. 4) Developing a chart comparing and contrasting the impact of radio with television or the internet.
Kate Harris
25
 

Tools of the Labor Movement

The United States labor movement began in full force during the late 19th century and peaked during World War II. Workers learned that by joining together in unions, they could exert more pressure on employers and the government to protect their rights and improve labor conditions. This collection includes a variety of resources related to the United States labor movement, particularly the various tools and strategies used to create change. Guiding questions to consider are: -What rights do workers desire? -How can labor unions influence employers, government, and the public? -What tools and strategies are most effective for improving working conditions? Consider: boycotts, picketing, appeals to the media, strikes, walk-outs, and slow-downs. -How does the public perceive labor unions? How does this impact their results? -Are women and minorities included in the labor movement? Were they always?
Kate Harris
25
 

Was Reconstruction a Failure?

The period after the Civil War, known as Reconstruction, had lofty goals for reuniting the nation and preserving the new rights given to African-Americans. For a time, these goals were achieved and three important amendments were made to the Constitution. However, by 1876 Reconstruction was considered over and much of the progress that had been made was undone. This collection of detailed prints and cartoons highlight many different aspects of Reconstruction and asks students to consider the overall result of Reconstruction. Students can analyze each one using the embedded questions.
Kate Harris
8
 

Remembering the Holocaust

This collection looks at the way artists have used art, literature, and architecture to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust and explores the questions around how an artistic work, memorial, or museum can try to convey an understanding of genocide. Questions to keep in mind as you observe each work: 1) What is the purpose of this memorial? Is it to honor, remember, educate others, or something else? 2) On what aspect of the Holocaust does this memorial focus? 3) What Jewish symbols are present? What national symbols are present? Are there human figures? Is it abstract? What other features do you notice about this memorial? 4) What is the setting of this memorial? How does that affect its purpose and design?
Kate Harris
24