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Tess Porter

Digital Content Producer
Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology
Smithsonian Staff

I'm the Digital Content Producer at the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology. Here, I focus on the use of digital museum resources to support teaching and learning.  I train educators on using digital museum resources and the Smithsonian Learning Lab to support student learning, research and develop learning experiences in collaboration with educators at the Smithsonian and other cultural institutions, and support the development of new tools and features to improve the Lab.  I hold a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Art History from University Colorado Boulder, and am currently pursuing an M.S. in Museums and Digital Culture at Pratt Institute.

Tess Porter's collections


Investigating Civil War Uniforms

<p>This topical collection includes resources related to Civil War uniforms.  Investigating these Union and Confederate uniforms - through types, differences, and similarities - helps to understand the different human resources of the Union and Confederacy, as well as the experience of individuals who fought in the Civil War. </p> <p>Collection contains two lesson plans (both of which can be adapted using resources in this collection), articles of clothing worn by Union and Confederate soldiers, lithographs, photographs, articles, a website, and a symposium.</p> <p>Keyword: Zouave</p>
Tess Porter

Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers resources about Bob Dylan, one of the most influential American music artists of the 20th century, and Woody Guthrie, who greatly influenced the work of Dylan and other folk artists. Ideas for classroom application located in "Notes to Other Users." Resources include images, videos, music, and a lesson plan.</p> <p>Tags: minnesota; hibbing; folk music; medieval music; ballad; #SmithsonianMusic<br /></p>
Tess Porter

Minnesota: Investigating a Place

<p>This teacher's guide uses stamps, photographs, paintings, objects, videos, and music to explore the history and culture of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes. In the classroom, these resources can be used by students to investigate two essential questions: How do you define Minnesota as a place? What does it mean to be a Minnesotan? </p><p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.<br /></p>
Tess Porter

Flashcard Activity: Tools and Innovation

<p>This collection traces innovation in various types of tools over time.  Approach in small groups or as a classroom to have students explore the essential questions: What makes something innovative?  How do you define innovation? </p> <p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.  This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see <a href="">the resource tile</a> at the end of this collection). <br></p> <p>Keywords: invention, flash cards, conceptual understanding</p>
Tess Porter

Ancient Greek Myth: Reinterpreted by African American Artists

<p>In this student activity, analyze the timelessness of myth through three works of art by modern African American artists. Each artist, inspired by Ancient Greek myth, retells stories and reinterprets symbols to explore personal and universal themes. Includes three works of art, summaries of the myths they reference, and discussion questions. Also includes a video about the artist Romare Bearden and his series 'Black Odyssey,' which details Bearden's artistic process, the significance of storytelling in his art, and the lasting importance of 'Black Odyssey.'</p> <p>Big Ideas: How does myth reflect the values of an individual or their culture? How do myths reflect the human experience? How do myths transcend time and place?</p> <p>Inspired by a Smithsonian American Art Museum lesson plan, located <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, alma thomas, bob thompson</p>
Tess Porter

Symbolism, Story, and Art: Achelous & Hercules

<p>A teacher's guide to the 1947 mural "Achelous and Hercules," by Thomas Hart Benton, which retells an Ancient Greek myth in the context of the American Midwest. Includes the painting, a pdf of the myth "Achelous and Hercules," a website, and video discussions by curators and educators. The website includes an interactive exploring areas of interest on the piece, as well as lesson and activity ideas for the classroom.</p> <p>Lesson & Activity Pathways: how to analyze symbol and meaning in art and writing, Ancient Greek myth, creative writing, and creating art.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, post-war, painting, agriculture, marshall plan, truman, missouri river</p>
Tess Porter

Dissolution of Native American Territory 1885-1905

<p>This student activity examines what events, including the Dawes Act of 1887, contributed to the change in Native American reservation boundaries over time. Includes a video discussing 19th century views toward Native Americans, maps of reservation territory in 1885, 1895, 1905, and 1965, discussion questions, and an opportunity to learn more using an interactive map.</p> <p>Big idea: Understand how boundaries of Native American reservations have changed over time, and what events lead to the alteration of borders.</p> <p>Keywords: American Indian, western expansion</p>
Tess Porter

Mummies: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection pulls together resources on mummification in multiple cultures. Resources cover reasons for mummification, different methods, and what can be learned by studying mummies. Includes Smithsonian Channel videos, fact sheets, objects, a student-targeted webcast, and articles. Areas explored include Ancient Egypt, South America, and Europe.</p><p>Keywords: egyptian, archaeology</p>
Tess Porter

Homo floresiensis: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers resources related to Homo floresiensis, commonly known as the Flores “Hobbit." H. floresiensis, was discovered in 2003, making it the second most recently discovered early human species. Contains a video, websites, a 3D interactive tour, and articles.</p><p>Keywords: physical anthropology</p>
Tess Porter