Found 339 Learning Lab Collections
The westward expansion of the United States in the 19th century added millions of acres to our territory. Thomas Jefferson stated "The fertility of the country, its climate and extent, promise in due season important aids to our treasury, an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide-spread field for the blessings of freedom." Today, Americans still heavily depend on many resources and industries in the west.
However, with triumph often comes elements of tragedy. Learn more about the black-footed ferret's brush with extinction through videos, images, and news articles.
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.
Explore this complementary collection of materials for the Smithsonian Science How webcast, Plesiosaurs and other Large Marine Reptiles with Paleobiologist Dr. Laura Soul.
Travel back in time with Paleobiologist Laura Soul to learn about the giant marine reptiles that once ruled the sea, like plesiosaurs. Laura will introduce your students to several related groups of marine reptiles, like pliosaurs and elasmosaurs, exploring their unique features and adaptations for living in marine environments. Laura will also share some of her while research and discoveries about how the body shapes and sizes of these marine reptiles changed over time. Throughout the broadcast, Laura will take questions from your students via text chat and there will be opportunities for students to share what they think using live polls. Join here on April 11 at 11am and 2pm ET:
This collection serves as a preview for the fifth of six seminar sessions in the 2019 Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program. This year's theme is “The Search for an American Identity: Building a Nation Together.”
National Air and Space Museum curator Cathleen Lewis will discuss objects from the Space Race gallery, in particular how spacesuits from the USSR and the United States indicate differing cultural and aesthetic answers to similar engineering challenges.
Resources included in this collection have been recommended by the presenter for participants to explore before the seminar itself.
Come along and explore the Blacksmith Shop at La Purisima Mission. Are you ready? Let's go!
Grade 4: Rocks and Minerals
Program Description: Students will become real life geologists and museum curators! The Cornerstone experience begins at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History with an interactive, hands-on learning experience in Q?rius jr.: a discovery room. While at the museum, students will learn what it means to be a geologist, and closely examine a chosen rock or mineral. Finally, students will have the opportunity to explore the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, & Minerals. Transferring their learning back to the classroom, these fourth grade geologists will create their very own rock/mineral museum display.
This collection explores the importance and significance of religion, music, representation and art in varying cultures and races. Throughout this collection, not only will we learn about the above topics, but we will also realize the connection that runs between different cultures and the different ways these topics can be seen in each culture.
The Smithsonian and Lenovo want to inspire you to tinker! In this collection, you will learn how to create your very own CUPCAR! Follow steps two through five to create a balloon-powered cupcar, and steps six through eleven to create a motor-powered cupcar.
Some steps have a yellow “paper clip” icon in the top left corner of the browser. Clicking this icon will reveal extra “Pro-Tips” for helping you build your cupcar.
Once your cupcar is moving, get creative! Try different placements of the parts for more efficiency. Decorate the outside with decals and markers. Race it with your friends!
This collection supports the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, Exploring the Amazing World of Lichens featuring Dr. Manuela Dal Forno, scheduled for March 28, 2019. Manu is a scientist at the Smithsonian who studies lichens, a lichenologist. She collects lichens from all over the world, depositing them into the U.S. National Herbarium, which is located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Manu identifies the lichens she collects with observations of how the lichen looks, their DNA data and where they were found.
Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. They have been on earth for millions of years, living on rocks, trees, and soil in all different habitats on all seven continents. Even though lichens are all around us, scientists are still learning about what they are, where they live, and how many different species of lichens there are.
Fungus is any group of spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, and include molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools. Algae is a simple, non-flowering plant. Algae contain chlorophyll and produce sugar through photosynthesis, like other plants, but do not have true stems, roots, leaves, or vascular tissue like most other plants. Lichenization is a fungal lifestyle, and therefore the name of lichen is the name of the fungus component.
When you look at a lichen, what you’re looking at is the “house” that the fungus and algae grow together. Scientists call this house a “thallus.” When algae and fungus come together to form this house, we see a lichen. This partnership is called a symbiotic relationship, because it helps both the fungus and algae survive. Research has shown that lichens are not a natural biological group, meaning they do not all come from a single common ancestor, in other words, lichens have many origins. Currently there are almost 20,000 species of lichenized fungi known.
In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus and algae benefit from being associated with each other. The fungus provides the house, its shelter (the thallus). This shelter helps the algae survive in habitats where it would otherwise be exposed to the elements and possibly could not survive. The algae provide food for the fungus, in the form of sugar. The sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis that occurs within the algae.
Lichens are very important for the environment. They are an important food source for many animals, provide nest materials for birds, and provide habitat and material for biomimicry for insects and other organisms.
Lichens are also important for humans by providing natural dyes, perfumes, litmus paper, and even food. Humans even use lichens as bio-indicators, organisms that help humans monitor the health of the environment. Some species of lichens are sensitive to environmental pollution, so their presence or absence can help us understand more about the health of the environment, like air quality.
Lichens produce over one thousand different chemical compounds, most of them unique to lichens. These compounds include acids and pigments. Some chemicals may even fluoresce under UV light, making them important components for lichen identification.
Lichens have DNA, which is used to identify lichen and compare relationships amongst and within species. DNA analysis has been an important tool for lichenologists in identifying and understanding the biodiversity of lichens.
Sign up for the Smithsonian Science How webcast to introduce your students to Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno! The program airs at 11am and 2pm on March 28, 2019. Sign up and view the program here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/...
This collection previews the fifth and final seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Struggle for Justice. Two National Portrait Gallery staff members will lead this event: David Ward and Briana Zavadil White.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the fourth seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Social Power of Music. Two staff members from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will lead this event: James Deutsch and Atesh Sonneborn.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself. Two resources, included at the end of the collection, are optional materials for those interested in addtional background information on Smithsonian Folkways.
This collection previews the third seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, American Democracy in the Trump Age. Harry Rubenstein, Curator and Chair of the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, will lead this event.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenter for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the second seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Native American Struggle for Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty. Three National Museum of the American Indian staff members will lead this event: Mark Hirsch, David Penney, and Colleen Call Smith.
Resources included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the first seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, A Journey Through the African American Lens. Five National Museum of African American History and Culture staff members will lead this event: Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Dr. Rex Ellis, Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer, Dr. Michèle Gates Moresi, and Mary Elliott.
Resources and reflection questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself. Fellows will be asked to discuss their answers to the reflection questions during the seminar.
This collection previews the opening panel of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, Social Justice: America's Unfinished Story of Struggle, Strife, and Sacrifice. Four Smithsonian staff members will speak at this event: Igor Krupnik (Arctic Studies Center, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History), Lanae Spruce (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Ranald Woodaman (Smithsonian Latino Center), and E. Carmen Ramos (Smithsonian American Art Museum).
Each text annotation in this collection contains each speaker's presentation title, description, and bio. Following each text annotation are resources and questions chosen by the presenters for participants to consider before the panel itself.
This collection explores the different textiles, along with their chemical compositions, used in the construction of Apollo-era spacesuits.
This collection explores the rockets NASA used during the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, as well as some novel designs and propellants for use in future rocket systems.
A collection of articles, images and videos about the function and necessary components of a spacesuit.
This collection explores the function and chemistry of heat shields on spacecraft and their evolution over the years.
A collection of videos, articles and artifacts related to the chemistry of the Red Planet.
Students will be able to observe the weather and describe what kinds of clothes are appropriate for different kinds of weather. #TWUtech
Students will be able to identify and label the parts of a tree.