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1812 Lesson Plans

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Four lessons in which students use critical thinking skills to examine, analyze, and compare/contrast artworks to better understand the events of the War of 1812. Lessons include a historical research project that has students create a textbook entry to demonstrate their understanding.

1812: A Nation Emerges

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibition on an epic scale. Portraits and biographies of the war's leading players (and the leading opponents of the war) add up to a complex national portrait. The cast includes former president Thomas Jefferson, future presidents Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, Shawnee leader Tecumseh, first lady of first ladies Dolley Madison, and the pirate Jean Laffite.

1846: Portrait of the Nation

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website looking back at the important historical events of 1846, the year the Smithsonian was founded. Selected paintings provide visual context for major historical events.

3-2-1 Bridge: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A Project Zero "Visible Thinking" routine for activating prior knowledge and making connections. This routine asks students to uncover their initial thoughts, ideas, questions, and understandings about a topic and then to connect these to new thinking about the topic after they have received some instruction. The framework asks students to write down 3 thoughts/ideas, 2 questions, and 1 analogy both before and after learning about a topic; then, the framework asks students to explain: “How do your new responses connect to your initial responses?”

3-2-1 BRIDGE

A routine for activating prior knowledge and making connections

Write an initial 3-2-1 set of responses to the topic, then, after studying the topic further, write a new 3-2-1 set of responses:

3 Thoughts/Ideas

2 Questions

1 Analogy

Bridge: Explain how your new responses connect to your initial responses.

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

This routine asks students to uncover their initial thoughts, ideas, questions, and understandings about a topic and then to connect these to new thinking about the topic after they have received some instruction.

Application: When and where can it be used?

Use this routine when students are developing understanding of a concept over time. It may be a concept that they know a lot about in one context but instruction will soon focus in a new direction, or it may be a concept about which students have only informal knowledge. Whenever new information is gained, bridges can be built between new ideas and prior understanding. Focus is on understanding and connecting one’s thinking, rather than pushing it toward a specific outcome.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

Have students do an initial 3, 2, 1 individually on paper; for instance, if the topic is “democracy,” then students would write down 3 thoughts, 2 questions, and 1 analogy about that topic. Students might then read an article, watch a video, or engage in an activity having to do with democracy. Provocative experiences that push students thinking in new directions are best. After the experience, students complete another 3, 2, 1. Have students share their initial and new thinking, explaining to their partners how and why their thinking shifted. Make it clear to students that their initial thinking is not right or wrong, it is just a starting point, and that new experiences take our thinking in new directions.

3D Collection

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
3D image collection of fossils, artifacts, primates, and other animals. Allows for close examination of objects from the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.

60-30-10

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson in which students investigate how designers use percentages by designing and decorating a room using three different color ratios.

A Brush with History

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website presenting portraits and biographies from the 1720s to the early 1990s, organized by time period, of men and women who have made significant contributions to the history of the United States. Includes an interactive quiz and teacher resources.

A Brush with History Teaching Guide

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson plans providing an in-depth exploration of selected historical figures and their contributions to the history of the United States. The guide is organized by thematic unit: from revolution to constitution, those inventive Americans, and abolition and the Civil War. Each unit contains background information about the individuals and their portraits, related questions and activities, a bibliography, and a reproduction of each portrait.

A Closer Look at Conservation: Chinese Commemorative Portraits

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website presenting step-by-step descriptions of the process of restoring and conserving several Chinese portraits before exhibition.

A Concrete Vision: Oshogbo Art in the 1960s

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
This online exhibition features works by visual artists from the earliest days of the Oshogbo school in Yoruba, Nigeria. Oshogbo artists drew on traditional ideas to create new forms.

A Contouring We Go

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson has students construct contour equipment and learn the mathematics behind topography while using the equipment, then compare their results with professional topographical maps.

A Critical Bibliography on North American Indians, for K-12

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Resource list on North American Indians organized by culture area and tribe and further divided into nonfiction and fiction, biographies, and traditional stories. Includes an introduction, preface, and foreword by Native American educators. Provides questions for critically evaluating different perspectives of history.

A Day in the Life of a Kurdish Kid

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The lesson will introduce children and their teachers to the Kurdish people and their history and culture by leading them on a Kurdish experience full of singing and dancing.

A Durable Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson plan exploring the career of Augustus Washington, an African American daguerreotypist, as well as the history of abolitionism in the United States.

A Durable Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibition exploring the career of African American daguerreotypist Augustus Washington, in both the United States and Africa. Includes corresponding lesson plans, his daguerreotypes, and a biography.

A Family Visit to the Smithsonian

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Interactive site featuring one family's week-long experience visiting museums and exhibits. Features the family's journal entries and activities they created to help make the most of a visit to Washington, D.C.

A Gem of a Story

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A live, interactive, televised electronic field trip to the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History. Requires purchase of log-in. Includes webisodes, a website with activities, lessons for the classroom, and a live broadcast on location at the Nation Museum of Natural History.

A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Spring 2011: Asian American Music

A Green City: Past, Present and Future

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson in which students look at the history of city development and city planning as they consider ideas for the future of urban transportation.

A Guide to the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Summer 2015: UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music

A History of the War of 1812 and The Star-Spangled Banner

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson on the often-forgotten War of 1812. Using this activity, students will be able to cite the origins and outcome of the War of 1812 and place the creation of the Star Spangled Banner in a chronological framework. Includes background, vocabulary, discussion questions, and extension activities. Part of the online exhibit The Star Spangled Banner: The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem.

A Jules Verne Centennial: 1905-2005

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibition on the writings of Jules Verne, considered the 'father of science fiction.' Verne was the first person to recognize that the new world of 19th-century scientific discovery offered a framework for adventure novels where the science of the day played an important role. Find images from early editions of Verne's works with the original engraved illustrations that made his works so popular. Since the original woodcuts and early printing plates are long gone, all that remains are these images from the early books.

A Kids' Guide to . . .

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson that involves students in a local historic preservation project.

A Landmark in American Justice

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson plan has students examine both the integrationist and segregationist arguments from Brown v. Board of Education. Students explore the arguments by role playing as a reporter covering the landmark case, then focusing on the impact of the Supreme Court's decision by analyzing a photograph from that time.
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