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Discovery Theater is a pan-institutional museum theater dedicated to bringing theatre to young audiences and general visitors on and off the Mall since 1969. Recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 7, this delightful Discovery Theater original offers a fresh take on three classic tales . The Little Red Hen asks the question “Who will help?” Jack and the Beanstalk proves that small is mighty. And The Gingerbread Man… well, he’s just one bad cookie. Filled with delightful songs, puppets, and audience participation, this bilingual story-time spectacular is not to be missed! 


Jack and the Beanstalk: Our version of this classic story teaches kids about overcoming adversity and intervening on behalf of those with less power than you.

The Little Red Hen: This story teaches kids about the important of helping others!

The Gingerbread Man: This fun tale also serves as an example of not trusting someone without carefully considering what their motives might be.

Discovery Theater

Zoology Introduction: Observing Pandas

This lesson plan teaches innate and learned animal behavior by having students watch videos of Bao Bao, the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda, and answer questions about her behavior in the videos. The videos range from Bao Bao as a newborn to her first birthday and have quiz questions connected to them to help students better understand how to observe animal behavior. There is a hand out for students to read while watching the videos to better help them answer questions. There is also a chart attached that can be used by the teacher to write down the behavior of Bao Bao in each video in fifteen second increments. This teacher lesson plan can also be adapted to be used as a class assignment, if needed. 

Christina Shepard

World War I Stamps

This topical collection features forty international stamps that were issued during the World War I era. These stamps will serve as inspiration and a starting point for teacher-created Smithsonian Learning Lab collections during the National Postal Museum's workshop, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" (July 2017) 


Ashley Naranjo

Woodcut Portraits

Jean-Marie Galing

Women's History Month Family Festival

Here is a collection of videos from a Women's History Month family festival, that includes interviews and performance footage with Kathak dancer Prachi Dalal, Native American singing group Ulali, mother-daughter storyteller and artist Yona Zeldis McDonough and Malcah Zeldis, and the Georgia Tech Glee Club paying tribute to the women in the audience for Women's History Month.

Philippa Rappoport

Women and Sewing in the Revolutionary Era

Among the many purposes art fulfills, it can convey a message, allow self-expression, and indicate a way of life. In the Revolutionary War era, while boys were taught traditional knowledge (much like today), girls were instructed in the arts--including sewing.1 This medium helped women contribute to their home as well as communicated thoughts and emotions of them and their country.

The art of sewing was used in practical manners through household items like quilts and bed coverings, giving a picture of normal life. Even the decorative works were practical; Education accessible only for the rich, the art was displayed in houses to show off their wealth and skill in order to attract suitors. It also conveyed values about religion and family, with passages and pictures, helping people in their time--and ours--understand their thoughts that otherwise would have gone unacknowledged. Some women even professionally embroidered to exchange it for money and goods, giving some financial independence in a time of assumed submission. 1

American culture also form into what it is today through these creations. Using stylized images, they created the picture of a patriot, dictating to the nation what a true American looks like and promoting the war effort. It showed what the country was as well as what it could be. In a time of adjustment and confusion, it gave the nation a direction of how to live.

Sewing gave a voice to the voiceless and helped define a woman's traditional role in American society. From the practical household items to a platform to display their personality, it gave them an outlet to educate and express themselves, giving them a way to participate and contribute to the country.

The first article is an embroidery frame. This was used to hold embroidery in place when creating. It is what opened the door for so many women to learn this skill and create a whole new influence in America.

The second article listed, called Sweet Sampler, is an example of what a girl would learn to do in school. This was made by an 13-year-old. A simple scene with just , this shows the beginning of a hard-to-attain education and the seeds of what grew into a popular form of expression.

The third article shows a quilt, one example of a household item done by sewing. Though the creator had no kids, it shows how the skill could be used practically to keep a family warm.

The fourth article is a coverlet (bedspread). Its design was inspired by Indian bed hangings, showing how American culture is influenced by outsiders-- and shaped by it-- through this medium. It is yet another example of how sewing was applied in basic items.

The fifth article, a pair of decorated shoes, was the only one I found of its kind. It was designed after German trends; this is another sample of other nations' influences on America, creating what is considered "American" today. In addition, it shows another use for sewing and embroidery.

Article six is a woman's stylized sampler tracking her genealogy. This is an example of work done with sewing to attract suitors and display wealth and education. It showcases what is considered "good" values through this display, giving a hint to the culture at the time.

Article seven demonstrates religious virtues. This perpetuates the cultural religious emphasis at the time, especially among the elite. This is yet another indication of American culture and also shows the woman's values-- a detail we otherwise wouldn't have known about.

Article eight, along with the rest following it, are more professional. Made with embroidery thread, it depicts a pleasant rural life, giving an idea of what was considered ideal life (for an elite, at least). The artist clearly had to develop this skill with the very little independence they were given.

Article nine's details were done using needlework. The artist depicted a woman flying an American flag in a picturesque setting. This became "a symbol of liberty to Americans during the Revolutionary War period" (National Museum of American History).

The final article depicts Liberty with armor and "a boy and girl looking toward a distance hilltop" (National Museum of American History). There are national emblems and symbols included, showing this picture is patriotic. This is yet another example of women influenced (as well as influencing) nationalism and the American war effort.

Shira Solomon

Winter Olympics: Highlights Collection

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, recordings, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Four Olympic stadiums with unexpected afterlives. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account.  If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

William H. Johnson

Jean-Marie Galing

Willi Smith

Willi Smith (1958-1987)

Willi Smith was an African American fashion designer whose street wear line known as WilliWear was and experiment of democracy in fashion. WilliWear designs were known to be bold, blurring the lines between high and low culture, and often involved collaborations with other artists and designers. The openly gay designer's career was cut short when he died in 1987 from complications to AIDS.

This collection is a representation of the March 2020 exhibition Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum that features over 200 pieces from Smith’s work and career, including video, sketches, patterns, photographs, and garments.

Mandy Horton

Why did the Second Great Awakening inspire reform movements?

The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival movement in the first half of the 19th century. It emphasized emotion and enthusiasm, but also democracy: new religious denominations emerged that restructured churches to allow for more people involved in leadership, an emphasis on man's equality before god, and personal relationships with Christ (meaning less authority on the part of a minister or priest). There was also a belief that the Second Coming was imminent, and society must be improved before that time. Women were heavily involved in the 2nd Great Awakening movement, converting in large movements and taking on leadership roles in service committees and reform work.

Students and teachers might use this collection as a topical resource to explore: Why and how did the Second Great Awakening inspired a range of antebellum reform movements?

Other questions that might support this inquiry include:

  • How are concepts of democracy and equality important to both the Second Great Awakening and the rise of reform movements?
  • Why do you think women were often leaders in antebellum reform movements?
  • More Americans were moving westward during this period. How do you think that impacted the religious revival movement?
  • Can you hypothesize a connection between the increase in utopian societies during this time and the growing reform and religious movements?

Tags: abolition, temperance, women's rights, women's suffrage, second coming, antebellum reform, asylum and prison reform, education, 2GA

Kate Harris

What is art? #TeachingInquiry

1. Do you think art is universal in its qualities and nature?

2. WHY is art created?

3. Who decides what is art and what is not art?

Kaavya Lakshman

Was the printing press revolutionary?

Saúl Martínez Bermejo

Visible Thinking with Still Life: Activities for Intro to Nutrition (NUTR101) Students

Intro to Nutrition is a 3 credit, non-lab science in the General Education curriculum at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, USA.

Scientists rely on observation to help them identify patterns and to formulate their hypotheses.  These three looking activities help students to develop more effective looking, thinking and questioning skills. These skills will serve them in this science class and in their lives outside the classroom, as well.

Exercise #1: Students are presented with two still life portraits from the 19th century.  The first is by German American artist Severin  Roese in 1852 and the second by Everhart Kuhn, in 1865.  Working in small groups students use the SEE-THINK-WONDER routine to discuss and record the similarities and differences they can identify. They share out to the larger group their findings to see if others saw the paintings differently.

Exercise #2:  Students examine one of the two paintings, either Still Life #12 (1962) by Tom Wesselmann or Breakfast Tacos (2003) by Chuck Ramirez.  This exercise employs the WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT routine from Project Zero.


Sara Ducey

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

Video Resources in American Sign Language: Highlights Collection

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, How cool new words are added to American Sign Language. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account.  If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Ut pictura poesis: Examining connections between American art and American poetry

This unit explores the idea that "as is painting, so is poetry."  It invites students to learn to "read" art in the same way they read poetry, and likewise to imagine poetry visually.  This bank of resources provides pairings of American poems and paintings. 

Elaine Bransford

Using Digital Resources to Integrate Asian Pacific American Experiences in the Classroom

In this collection, Smithsonian Affiliate museums and the Smithsonian Learning Lab team share free digital resources and strategies to integrate Asian Pacific American history, culture, and the arts into your K-12 classroom, via a Google Hangout. Presenters highlight a set of Smithsonian Learning Lab collections that teachers can adapt and use to examine a breadth of topics, from the 1800's to the present and on both local and national scales, in ways that best suit their students’ needs.

Find #APA2018 Smithsonian Learning Lab collections at:

This online session received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.


  • Kristin Gallas – Program Manager for Education Development, Tsongas Industrial History Center (Lowell, MA) 
  • Rahul Gupta – Education and Tours Director, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, WA) 
  • Hanna Huang – Culture and Arts Education Coordinator, Asian American Resource Center (Austin, TX) 
  • Ashley Naranjo – Manager of Educator Engagement, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access 
  • John Plunkett – Reading-Language Arts Teacher, Lowell Public School District (Lowell, MA) 
  • Tess Porter – Education Support Specialist, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Ashley Naranjo

University of Brasilia - O mito de Juan Santos Atahualpa.

A história do indígena que mobilizou seu povo, o povo Campa, e outros povos indígenas da Amazônia Central em prol da liberdade e contra a colonização espanhola no século XVIII.

Leticia Amarante

University of Brasilia - Fotos antigas da Bahia

Coleção que reúne fotos antigas da Bahia, Brasil.

Gabriel Amaral

Understanding Intersectionality

This topical collection includes videos and articles to support teachers in learning and teaching about the concept of intersectionality and being more mindful of intersectionality in their own teaching.  As defined by Teaching Tolerance,  Intersectionality refers to the social, economic and political ways in which identity-based systems of oppression and privilege connect, overlap, and influence one another. 

This collection begins with a video from the National Museum of African American History and Culture that serves as a  primer on the subject and also includes a TED Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Washington Post articles on the subject, a Teaching Tolerance magazine article, and Crenshaw's 1989 research article, "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics." Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussions.

#APA2018 #EthnicStudies

Ashley Naranjo

Triumph and Tragedy: U.S. Reconstruction, 1865-1877

This collection brings together Smithsonian and other federal resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History." #NHD2019

These resources - including photographs, broadsides, political cartoons, publications, correspondence, ledger books, and government documents - explore the varying experiences, political arguments, and consequences of the period following the American Civil War, known as Reconstruction. Resources highlight the opposing ideas for and against Reconstruction policies - and their consequences - by the federal government and its citizens, including political leaders and activists. Also included are digital resources related to Constitutional Amendments passed during this era, supporting secondary resources, and various cartoons, broadsides, speeches, and imagery portraying the African American response to Reconstruction policies and the promises of citizenship and equal rights. Other primary source documents included provide a glimpse into how Reconstruction may have affected individual lives and businesses, and links to digitized collections (and corresponding transcriptions) of thousands of documents from the U.S. Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research. 

Tags: Civil War, Reconstruction, U.S. Reconstruction, postwar, South, perspective, politics, southern democrats, Radical Republicans, African Americans, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands, art, photographs, political cartoons, military, 19th century, 1800s, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Hiram Revels, amendments, #NHD

Smithsonian Transcription Center

Timeline of Ancient China (5000 BCE - 220 CE)

This collection contains an interactive timeline of the art and archaeology of Ancient China from about 5000 BCE to 220 CE. It includes information on each period in this time range: Late Neolithic period, Erlitou culture, Shang dynasty, Western Zhou dynasty, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Qin dynasty, and Han dynasty; each with a representative object from each time period, ranging from a jade cong to a bronze incense burner.

Authors of this collection are the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Tags: art history; artifact; archaeologist; ritual; Chinese; asia; Asian; warring states period; terracotta army; terra cotta;

Freer|Sackler Education

Think Blue: Transportation

Esta é uma coleção de recursos do Smithsonian Learning Lab sobre transporte aquaviário desenvolvida para Think Blue e Virtual Educa 2018. Explorais essa coleção rolando sobre cada imagem para ver o título do recurso e clique em qualquer imagem para ver mais informações sobre o recurso. Para ver outras coleções do Think Blue, visite esta página.

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab collection of resources about water transportation developed for Think Blue and Virtual Educa 2018.  Explore this collection by scrolling over each image to see the resource’s title, and click on any image to see more information about the resource.  To view other Think Blue collections, visit this page.

Esta es una colección de recursos del Smithsonian Learning Lab sobre transporte acuático desarrollada para Think Blue y Virtual Educa 2018. Exploráis esta colección desplazándose sobre cada imagen para ver el título del recurso, y haga clic en cualquier imagen para ver más información sobre el recurso. Para ver otras colecciones de Think Blue, visite esta página.


Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
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