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Causes of the American War for Independence

The Revolutionary War was the most important event in American history.

By studying our birth as a nation, we gain a better understanding of who we are and we are better able to foster and preserve the vision of our founding fathers. Students will study events that led to the revolution and people who fostered liberty from England to gain an understanding of the causes of the American Revolutionary War. They will interpret and analyze primary sources.

The Revolutionary War was a necessary war in the point of view of The Americans but the British pushed the revolution agenda on the Americans unintentionally when they taxed the colonists without their representation. The items in this collection are important to American history because these events led to the existence of America as a country.

The collection consists of the main reasons that caused the Revolutionary War to occur in the first place. It consists of the causes and build up to the war, major events during the war, and the events that ended it. Finally, it contains the Declaration of Independence and The Articles of Confederation which mark the end of the Revolutionary War.

Shannon Nuckolls

Iconic Pittsburgh Images, Paired with Project Zero Routines

Includes iconic people, places, and things associated with Pittsburgh. 

Prior to the workshop series, select one resource from this collection and conduct an adapted See-Wonder-Connect routine (What do you see in the resource that's worth noticing? What do you wonder about? What connections do you make to it?). You may consider sharing with a partner, using the Think-Pair-Share routine. Finally, Imagine if... you were using one of these resources in your own practice, what would you have students do with it? 

This collection was created for the Smithsonian Learning Lab workshops in Pittsburgh and the surrounding school districts. Funded by the Grable Foundation and in partnership with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Quaker Valley School district and the Washington International School. 

Ashley Naranjo

Presidential Backgrounds as Portraiture

In this collection, I take a look at the objects and the atmospheric space as the major components to portraiture as opposed to the figure.  This approach allows the participants to draw conclusions of the subject when no prior knowledge may be known of the subjects themselves. This activity tests the viewer to first look beyond the traditional portrait and begin to have a conversation about the setting and the situation that the portrait holds. 

Portraits with multifaceted backgrounds with objects are most effective when using this strategy. Thus, the rationale that the 44 portraits in Americans President’s is used for this collection, not everyone knows everything there is to know about the Presidents of the United States of America but this collection will give viewers a snapshot of their lives in a particular moment. 

 The five Presidents highlighted in this particular collection are: George Washington, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama

Bryan Hill

Creative Writing

inspirational story starters/prompts

Christina Ratatori


community building in a classroom. what is our community? 

Christina Ratatori

Reading: Setting

Christina Ratatori


early childhood 

Christina Ratatori


Christina Ratatori

Colors & Shapes

Christina Ratatori


Christina Ratatori

Harlem Renaissance

Christina Ratatori

Women's History Month

Women's History Month 

Christina Ratatori

Civil Rights Movement

Christina Ratatori

Frederick Douglas

Christina Ratatori

The Arts Today

Inspiration for our young artists and scholars.

Christina Ratatori

Giraffes Can't Dance

Christina Ratatori

Types of Triangles

Christina Ratatori

People. Places. Environments.

Social Studies

Christina Ratatori

Long Ago | social studies | grade 1

This collection connects directly to the TCI Social Studies textbook, grade 1, chapter 7 titled, "What Was School Like Long Ago?" This chapter also touches on transportation such as the horse & buggy and trains with sleeping cars. (Pages 65-73)

Christina Ratatori


This collection connects with the Journeys reading series for kindergarten and is specific to the animals covered throughout the school year.

Christina Ratatori

Story Elements

Story Elements Identification &/or

Creative Writing Prompts

Christina Ratatori

Portrait Analysis: Duke Kahanamoku

In this activity, students will analyze a stamp depicting Duke Kahanamoku to explore his significance in American history and culture. Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) transformed the Polynesian pastime of surfing into a worldwide competitive sport.  He also won five Olympic medals in swimming, was an accomplished actor and businessman, and was re-elected sheriff of the city and county of Honolulu for thirteen consecutive terms.  Opportunities to learn more include a photograph of him with Amelia Earhart and her husband, a surfboard he carved, and a Google Doodle created for his 125th birthday.

This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Duke Kahanamoku's life and achievements, Hawaiian history and culture, and more.  This activity opens with questions from the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators and ends with a Project Zero Think / Puzzle / Explore routine; the full portraiture guide and routine instructions are located at the end of the collection.

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Keywords: surfer, pacific islander, athlete, hawaii, hawai'i


Tess Porter

The All-Star Game Comes to Washington

Our very own Nationals Park is set to host the All-Star game on July 17, and Washington will be packed with events leading up to that event. So now is your chance to chat about all-things-Washington baseball, past and present, with an all-star lineup of experts managed by veteran attorney and sportscaster Phil Hochberg, who was the stadium announcer for the 1962 game. Greg McCarthy from the Washington Nationals is on hand to discuss all the events and expectations of All-Star week. Sports author Fred Frommer has all the history of the four other All-Star games played in D.C., as well as endless baseball trivia. And batting cleanup, Washington Nationals’ analyst Phil Wood has been keeping a keen eye on Washington baseball since his childhood attending games at Griffith Stadium.

For more information and tickets, visit

Margaret O'Meara

The Garden in Your Beer

On August 16th, Smithsonian Associates will a guided tasting with Doug Campbell, president of Brewery Ommegang. Hear about the innovative brewing practices of American craft brewers who interpret centuries-old traditions with a contemporary twist. Take a look at the garden through the lens of the botanicals, spices, wild yeasts, fruits, berries, and hops that flavor your favorite beer. Enjoy light food pairings with the beer samples. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Margaret O'Meara
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