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STEAM Learning: Beauty and Truth in Science and Art

Overview: Within the new realm of STEAM learning, students explore transdisciplinary themes connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math in new ways, finding similarities and differences.  The overall goal of STEAM learning is to link the subjects for 21st century career paths.

Use this lesson as a provocation to a unit on planet Earth, our solar system, and/or space and the human interaction within those topics. This will get students thinking about how we translate the world around us and motivate them to dig deep when researching.

Use the thinking routine: Beauty and Truth for an engaging discussion with students. The discussions will help you assess students’ prior knowledge of space, Earth, and our solar system.

Purpose:  In this lesson students explore their knowledge of science and art. Students are asked to make connections with the two as they use a Project Zero thinking routine: Beauty and Truth. This lesson can be adapted to students Grades 5-12 to work collaboratively and enhance their communication skills within the regular classrooms or Design Thinking and Maker Space learning workshops when available.

History connections: This collection offers a historical perspective of the synergistic role of art and sciences for innovations used for human exploration both on Earth and in space. The images and artifacts have been selected to capture science and art from the early 20th century to current times.

Directions: In order to allow student led learning, model the activity (described below), then allow the students to explore the activity. The very last resource in the collection is a video entitled “Heaven and Earth”. Use this as a tool for a reflection discussion in the beginning and end of your lesson. Please feel free to modify the lesson. Note that it is imperative to discuss Science and Art before and after the lesson to show the growth of understanding from beginning to end. 

Teacher will demonstrate a sample first: Choose two images (Art and Science): one that you think best demonstrates concepts in science that you are interested in and one that best demonstrates art concepts that you are interested in. This is very personal and based on prior knowledge. Please explore the artifact by exploring the tabs that display more information about the piece. 

The teacher demonstrates the thinking routine to analyze the images: Beauty and Truth. Document both beauty and truth evidence for each image. Compare the list and see if there are similarities. Then the students pair up to do the same: choose two images and explore Beauty and Truth for each image. Have them chart using 4 squares to get the beauty and truth observations for each of the two images. After, share out their findings and have a reflection discussion for any similarities amongst students. The main goal is to have the students realize on their own that science and art overlap in many ways, and that beauty and truth can be extracted from each. 

This should lead some rich discussions.

Learning Integrations:

  • Literacy: Have the students write a persuasive paragraph that promotes either the images as more beauty or truth with multiple reasons why and concrete examples to demonstrate.
  • Science: Have the students research more about the science they observed. You can even combine literacy by having them complete a technical article where they place themselves within that time period of the scientific discovery and write a “Breaking News” article telling the general public about the amazing new science discovery.
  • History: Create a timeline for 5-10 images. Discuss the progression of discovery and innovation. Discuss the impact on society and humans.

Learning Extensions:

  • Use design thinking to extend the learning. Pretend there will be a circus coming to town that gets everyone excited about STEAM. Use graphic design tools to combine both images and create a promotional poster.
  • Create a model or diorama of the scientific discovery.

Let the learning take you on an STEAM adventure.

Enjoy this lesson!

Ages: Grades 5-12, scope per ability

Learning objectives:

  • Students understand the similarities and differences of science and art.
  • Students learn historic scientific discoveries.
  • NGSS - Use these objectives after using this lesson as a provocation to learn about our Earth, the Universe, and the solar system. Sample science units can include the following learning standards:
    • MS-ESS1-2 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.  Grade: Middle School (6-8)
    • HS-ESS1-1 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.  Grade: High School (9-12)
    • HS-ESS1-2 Earth's Place in the Universe

    • Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.  Grade: High School (9-12)

Cultural Connections - Global Perspectives

  • Investigating the world: With prompting and support, I can ask a question about an idea that is important to my community.
  • Recognizing perspectives: With prompting and support, I can identify when someone else has an idea that is different from my own.
  • Communicate Ideas: I can speak and write to share my ideas with others. This means with help I can look at my audience, speak loudly and clearly, and share my ideas so that my audience can understand them.

#GoGlobal #STEAM #STEM #designthinking #makeractivity

Sandra Vilevac
47
 

impressionism

impressionism paintings

jackie li
8
 

AFRICAN COSMOS

Put the ARTS in STEM - From Egypt to South Africa, take a brief tour of the African Cosmos  and have your students discover the intersection of Art and Astronomy in the southern hemisphere.   Explore constellations only seen on the African continent.  See why the Goliath beetle became a symbol of rebirth for the Egyptian scarab.  Learn about celestial navigation by people and animals. 

Create Your Own Constellation!  Request Activity sheets for your classroom.

Submit your class constellations to our Student Gallery and be a part of your own school's online exhibition!


Deborah Stokes
67
 

Virginia History Tour

From Jamestown to the present, explore some of the people, places and events that tell the story of the history of Virginia. 

( Curated to support Virginia Standards of Learning for the  Virginia Studies course.)


Nancy Butler
56
 

Paths to Perspective: How the Past Connects to Our Present

This lesson is inspired by Out of Eden Learn, the journey of Paul Salopek, and the idea that each person is an amalgamation of the people and events that came before them. These people and events include the nature of their birth, the lives of their parents, the experiences of their grandparents, the creation of the printing press, etc. The idea behind this lesson is, in its inception, to expose students to milestones in black history, and to use that rich history to challenge them to look into their past to see how they connect to larger events that came before them last week or even a century or millennia ago.

This lesson is especially crafted for Black History Month (though of course it can be used at other times) to have students from multiple ethnic backgrounds try to find a connection to the African American Experience in the United States. It removes students from an ethnic vacuum and asks them to see how the journey of others not like them has an impact on their, their family's and their country's history.

To begin your use of this collection please read the lesson plan at the beginning labeled Lesson Plan: Paths To Perspective. It is the full lesson for using this Learning Lab collection. You may use it in full or alter as you see fit for the needs of your class. It is by no means exhaustive, especially in terms of Project Zero ideas that can be used with the collection, but it is a good starting point for how to use this material in class.

#GoGlobal

Sean Felix
23
 

Acting to Overcome Systems of Oppression

This collection is designed to extend students' thinking about acting to overcome systems of oppression after they read a memoir that focuses on social justice and activism. In our English program, students in 6th grade read I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousazai; in 7th grade, students read March: Book One by John Lewis; and in 8th grade, students read Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. All use the Project Zero thinking routine "Think, Feel, Care" to explore Malala's, John Lewis's, or Marjane's reaction to the system of oppression they face in their story. To engage with the thinking routine, we ask the following questions:

Think: How does the character understand the system and her/his role within it?

Feel: What is the character's emotional response to this system and her/his position within it?

Care: What are her/his values, priorities, and motivations with regard to this system? What is important to her/him?

From there, students analyze the question: How does the character act on what is important to her/him in response to this system?

We use this collection and the "Think, Feel, Care" routine to look at how others have responded to and acted against different systems of oppression. After spending time with this collection, we end with the "Circle of Action" thinking routine to help us think about the potential for our own action against systems of oppression.

This collection could be used in conjunction with any unit that focuses on social justice or activism. 

#GoGlobal

Marissa McCauley
14
 

Puerto Rico Movie Posters

Movie Posters from Puerto Rico

Introduction to feature film’s narrative stories

Arch of the story – Beginning, middle, & end  

Introduction to the Lesson Plan  

Constant scrolling through social media platforms and click bait headlines, many of us uncritically consume vast amount of visual media every day. This lesson plan asks student participants to make observations of visual media and to transform those impressions through the creative medium of cinematography. The goal of the lesson plan is to help develop a more nuanced, informed visual literacy among young learners.   

The use of visual impressions in this lesson plan allows the student to construct cinematic narrative stories based on Puerto Rican culture and daily life. The images printed on these posters relate to themes that explored art and exhibitions, medical education and prevention of diseases, natural disaster awareness and relief actions, community engagement in medical campaigns, as well as rural life in Puerto Rico. In order to write this narrative story, the student will interact heavily with the poster visuals and the stories they represent in order to awaken the student’s imagination and intellect as they engage in an exercise of writing fiction, allowing them to learn about Puerto Rican culture and cinematic history.  

Lesson Goals

-Exposure to film archival material

-Development of writing skills for film narratives

-Analyses and comprehension of the screenwriting process and structure

-Exposure to Puerto Rican culture and daily life activities

-Teamwork and ability to multitask  

Concluding Questions to Students

  • What did you know about Puerto Rico and its culture before the lesson plan, and what are new things that you learned about it after engaging in this exercise?
  • What visuals impacted you the most and why?
  • After completing step # 3, how did you initially envision the characters of your story to be or to behave?
  • Do you feel confident about using the beginning-middle-end structure to write a screenplay?
  • What are a few things that you can take from this exercise and how do you see implementing them in future–artistic, cinematic, writing–projects?  

The following seven images are screen printings of movie posters from Puerto Rico. These screen-prints are housed at the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  

The purpose of this lesson plan is to help you create a narrative story (aided by the poster’s images and scenarios) following a movie scrip sequence of “beginning, middle, and an end.” Then compare your story with others in your classroom and see how close or far were you from the stories–of the films–these posters represent.  

Here are the steps you need to follow:  

  • Choose 3 (out of the 7) posters.
  • Once you have selected your posters, assign them a place in your narrative story as follow;
    • Poster # 1 - Beginning
    • Poster # 2 - Middle
    • Poster # 3 - End
  • Look at the characters, the setting (place and/or type of surroundings), objects, symbols, and the text on your posters (we will provide attendees with Spanish to English translation for this lesson plan).
  • Give Names to the characters in the posters. Names can repeat if you want a character in one poster to be the same character in another poster (this might be helpful to write your narrative story). Or! each character in a poster can be unique and have its own story.
  • Go to the lesson plan images and read the description and keywords for each of your 3 choices.
  • Combine your text from step # 4 and incorporate it into your narrative (in your own words) with your observations from step # 5
  • Arrange your narrative, shuffle the order of your posters (beginning, middle, end), move characters around, change names, etc. Have fun.

You will have the option of shuffling the order of your posters at any time in order to re-arrange your narrative.            

Your narrative does not have to be perfect or make any sense. The purpose of this lesson plan is to put you in the mindset of the writer and director of a feature film. Using as inspiration movies made in Puerto Rico as you analyze the meaning and stories behind the posters you chose in order to make your own Puerto Rican movie. 

This lesson plan was an assignment completed as part of University of California, Berkeley Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program with PhD candidate, Amanda Guzman.


Raul Varela
7
 

Photographs of the Great Depression: Unveiling Stories

This activity analyzes the stories told by photographs of the Resettlement Administration (RA) and Farm Security Administration (FSA) programs, which ran from 1935 to 1937 and 1937 to 1942 respectively. These photographs were taken to document the conditions and hardships experienced by Americans across the country during the Great Depression, as well as the success of relief services implemented by these two programs. Published widely in newspapers, magazines, books, and exhibitions, these photographs helped shape the public's perception and memory of this difficult time period.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will uncover the stories and perspectives portrayed by these photographs in multiple contexts, from the personal to the global. Additional resources (photographer interviews and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

RA & FSA photographers included in this collection: Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Marion Post Wolcott.

Keywords: poverty, rural, urban, roy stryker, new deal, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1930s, 30s, dust bowl, photojournalism

#historicalthinking

Tess Porter
20
 

Bracero Program: Unveiling Stories

In this activity, students will examine photographs documenting the Bracero Program, the largest guest-worker program in US history. Started in 1942 as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million contracts were awarded.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs tell about the experiences of braceros in this program, and the impact of these stories in multiple contexts. Additional resources (primary sources, a digital exhibition, and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: mexican, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, leonard nadel, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s

#LatinoHAC

Tess Porter
37
 

The Bikini Atoll and Operation Crossroads: Unveiling Stories

In this activity, students will analyze photographs documenting the exodus of Bikini islanders from Bikini Atoll prior to Operation Crossroads, a pair of nuclear weapons tests and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the bombing of Nagasaki. These photographs were taken by Carl Mydans and were published in the LIFE Magazine article, "Atomic Bomb Island," on March 25, 1946.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs communicate about the experiences of the Bikini islanders and America's perspective on military advancement after WWII. They will also consider the perspectives presented by these photographs, in multiple contexts from the personal to the global. Additional resources (primary sources and the original article) and information on using this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: atomic testing, atomic bomb, operation crossroads, bikini islands, bikini atoll, rongerik, able test, baker test, nuclear bomb, photojournalism, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s


Tess Porter
17
 

Environmental Advocacy through Art

This collection was designed to enable students to reflect deeply on their understanding of local and global human impacts on the planet and how they can inspire others to care about/collectively work to solve one of these issues.  Students will use Project Zero Thinking Routines to examine various pieces of environmental art before they create their own visual call to action focused on the environmental issue that they care most about.

Global Competency Connection:

  • This project was designed to be the culminating project in a high school Environmental Science class, thus it is the expectation that students have “investigated the world” as they explored environmental and social issues throughout the course.  
  • This project will incorporate a level of choice as students “communicate their ideas” on the environmental issue that resonated most with them.
  • As a part of the project, students will share their campaigns with their teachers, peers, and families, and through this awareness raising thus “take action” on issues of global significance.

#GoGlobal #ProjectZero #EnvironmentalScience

Aleah Myers
37
 

ORIENTATION | Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) Fall 2018 - Spring 2019

<<This information is relevant to the Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 SSYAC Program.>>

SUPER IMPORTANT: When you click into the tiles, be sure to notice in the upper left hand corner if there is a "paper clip" icon. Clicking on the paperclip icon will lead to more information on a side panel. Some of the tiles will be website links or video links. Tiles marked as PDF or DOC are downloadable information. Within a tile, arrows at the bottom of the screen will navigate you between tiles.


Orientation for new members of the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) for Fall 2018 - Spring 2019

  • About the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) -- including forms and other important information
  • About Secretary David J. Skorton
  • About Smithsonian's past and present
  • About Smithsonian Affiliate participants
  • About Smithsonian operations, and policy information helpful to SSYAC members. 
  • Meeting Resources (relevant info related to upcoming meetings will be added closer to meeting dates). 

KEYWORDS: teen council, student engagement

Tracie Spinale
32
 

Castro - The Impact of the Civil War on Society

Students will explore these sources to spark inquiry and investigation about how the Civil War impacted American society. 

  • Students can complete the sorting activity to categorize the images. 
  • Students should select one source they find most intriguing and generate questions  about the source and its related topic by completing the quiz question. 
Jose Castro
30
 

Examining the Transcontinental Railroad - Nn

Railroads started well before 1869, but it was not until that year that the nation was bound together by a commitment to build the first transcontinental system. On May 10, 1869, the driving of a golden spike, signaled the ceremonial end to a process that had been going on for 6 years of construction, engineering, and human toil. Two companies, one starting in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Sacramento, California competed to lay track towards each other to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. Their reward for each mile was government money and lots of it. By the time that they met at Promontory Summit, Utah, vast sums of money and untold human labor and sacrifice had been expended on this incredible technical endeavor. A single track united the continent's Wester and Eastern regions. Travel from East to West used to take months by wagon train, could now be measured in mere days. This collection utilizes Primary Source student review strategies from the Library of Congress' Primary Source Analysis Tools

Brian Ausland
14
 

Battles of Revolutionary War

This collection highlights important information and pictures of battles of the Revolutionary War.  The materials are not in timeline order.  They are simply for research purposes for the students.

Patrick Conners
15
 

Learning Lab Training Collection on the Theme "The Search for an American Identity"

This collection is designed to help educators bridge the classroom experience to a museum visit. It is intended to demonstrate various ways to use the Learning Lab and its tools, while offering specific, replicable, pre-engagement activities that can simply be copied to a new collection and used to help students engage with museum resources. 

Included here: 

  • Section 1: a set of flashcards, a template document so that teachers can create and print their own specific sets, and strategies for their use in their classrooms. 
  • Section 2: a variety of student activities and resources to explore artist Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq," a metaphorical representation of the unrest taking place in Iraq, and more broadly, an exploration of the human condition during times of crisis.  This section includes an image of the work from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an explanatory video with curator E. Carmen Ramos, two  Thinking Routines - "See, Think, Wonder" and "The 3 Y's" - from Harvard's Project Zero Visible Thinking and Global Thinking materials, and  an array of prompts and Learning Lab tools to help students think critically and globally.  
  • Section 3: a short assignment to get participants started using the Learning Lab.
  • Section 4: spacer tile template to serve as chapter headings in longer collections.

This collection is adapted from a teaching collection on the same theme (Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" ( http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll...), that includes extension activities. It was created for the 2019 cohort of the Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program on the theme, "The Search for American Identity: Building a Nation Together," - the subject of the Montgomery College - Smithsonian 2019 Fellowship program. 


Keywords: #MCteach


Philippa Rappoport
29
 

Virginia History Told Through Stamps

Significant persons and events from Virginia History can be discovered through U.S. Stamps.  Test your knowledge of the history of the Old Dominion.

Nancy Butler
24
 

Exploring Fossil Ammonoids

This collection can be used as a pre- and post-resource to support the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, Exploring Fossil Ammonoids with Paleobiologist Lucy Chang. During the 30-minute program, your students will have an opportunity to interact with the scientist through live Q&A and polls. 

This collection contains objects from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Many of the specimens in this collection are fossil ammonoids, but other mollusks are included for comparison. Also included in the collection is a companion worksheet for students (with teacher key) to express their newly gained knowledge about ammonoids.  

Ammonoids are an extinct group of marine mollusks that belong to the subclass Ammnoidea and the class Cephalopoda. A popular and well-known subgroup of ammonoids are ammonites. The closest living relatives of ammonoids are also cephalopods like squids, octopods, and cuttlefish, while the modern nautilus is more distantly related.   

Ammonoids had shells made of calcium carbonate just like today’s snails, clams, oysters, and other shelled mollusks. Ammonoid shells varied in shape and size. Some ammonoids had tightly coiled shells (planispiral), while others had uncoiled, irregularly shaped shells (heteromorphs). Regardless of shape or size, the shell provided the ammonoid with protection and possibly camouflage. 


Ammonoid shells had interior walls (septa) that created chambers inside of the shell. These chambers were connected by a narrow tube structure called a siphuncle. The ammonoid could use the siphuncle to control the amount of gas and fluid in each chamber, giving it the ability to achieve neutral buoyancy and move about in the marine environment.  


Although ammonoid shells are abundant in the fossil record, there is an extremely poor record of their soft parts being preserved or fossilized. Based off of their relationships to mollusks alive today, ammonoids likely had bodies that were soft. The animal would have lived exclusively in the last chamber of its shell with numerous arms extending in a ring around its mouth, eating plankton and detritus, dead or decaying matter. Scientists study the shapes and patterns of ammonoid shells and related species, fossil and modern, to learn about the extinct animal.  


Ammonoids lived around the globe and were present on earth for a very long time, about 350 million years. The entire group went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 million years ago, along with the dinosaurs.  


The abundance of ammonoids in the fossil record and their long history on earth make them good fossils to study. Geologists use ammonoid fossils as guide or index fossils, helping to date the rock layers from which the fossils were found. Paleobiologists can use fossil ammonoids to learn about patterns of extinction and glean information about the group's evolutionary history.

Maggy Benson
28
 

Charles Russell: Art of the American West

Charles Russell brought the west alive with his paintings and sculptures of western life. His authentic depictions of Native Americans allow the viewer to appreciate the dress and life of the plains Indians. Also skilled in sculpture, Russell depicts cowboys and wildlife in action settings. This lab provides samples of Russell's best work.

mike mickelson
26
 

The Three Branches of Government

This Collection contains resources to help students understand the three branches of government in the United States.

SWBT identify and describe the purposes of each branch of the United States government. 

#PZPGH


Jackie Pack
18
 

Planets of the Solar System

Through this collection, students will deepen their understanding of each planet in our solar system.  Pairing the See, Think, Wonder thinking routine with an embroidered quilt of the solar system will peak students' interest in the dwarf planet, Pluto.  After discovering the year that the quilt was made, students can explore the website to learn the history of Pluto.

Using the provided websites, students will work in groups to research a planet.  They will use the obtained information to write a headline that captures the most interesting aspect of the planet and to create a model of the planet.

#PZPGH

Jamie Bonacorso
21
 

Revolutionary War

This collection was created for the purpose of immersing my fifth grade social studies students in a world of artifacts that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to see. My students lack exposure and background knowledge centered around the arts. Most of them would never have the opportunity to view these artifacts in person. Having this collection and abundance of  options to integrate into my curriculum opens a world of opportunities! #pzpgh

Jamie Chambers
29
 

Native American Art

Students will study each of the three paintings and write how each painting makes them feel.  Students will then choose their favorite painting and create their own version.

Katie Wirtzberger
3
 

Compare and Contrast: Schools Then and Now

In this collection, students will be able to make a connection to schools in years past by comparing and contrasting their modern day school environment to schools long ago. The See, Think, Wonder routine allows for children to recognize differences and similarities through using historical resources and events. This collection can be used as a cross curricular resource to create lessons for several units including segregation, civil rights, and time lines. #PZPGH

Cynthia Murphy
12
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