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Found 409 Collections

 

Forgotten Elephants of Deep Time with Paleobiologist Advait Jukar

Program Details

  • December 12, 2019
  • Shows are ~45 minutes long and stream at 11am and 2pm ET
  • The program is free, but registration is requested. Sign Up

Overview

The earliest elephant relatives originated in Africa about 60 million years ago and dispersed to every continent on earth, except Antarctica and Australia. There are about 165  known elephant species from the fossil record, and scientists estimate that there would have been many more that we haven't found yet, over the whole history of this special group, called a clade. In Earth’s more recent history, between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago, there were 16 species of elephants and their relatives living at the same time around the world, including at least 7 in the United States. Today, there are only three species of elephants that remain: the African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana), the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Populations of all three species are declining, with Asian elephants at a much higher risk of extinction.

Today’s elephants are part of the order Proboscidea which consists of modern elephants and their extinct relatives such as mastodons, mammoths, and gomphotheres. All of the animals in this group have a proboscis, or trunk, that they use to eat and drink. While today there are only two surviving elephant genera, the African and Asian elephant, their evolutionary history is much more diverse.

Paleontologists use fossil elephant teeth to understand the animal’s diet and feeding behavior. There are two main types of teeth: high crowned and low-crowned teeth.

  • High-Crowned Teeth: Animals that consume tougher, more abrasive foods are likely to wear down their teeth over time, and thus have evolved to have higher-crowned teeth as a result. These animals typically have an herbivorous grazing diet; they graze grasses.
  • Low-Crowned Teeth: Animals that eat softer food have less wear, and therefore have low-crowned teeth. These animals typically have an herbivorous browsing diet; they browse branches, eating soft leaves.

Maggy Benson
52
 

Examining Evidence: What happens to the body in space?

Students analyze data about what has happened to astronauts’ bodies during their time in microgravity and their return to Earth. These changes are categorized into four sets: Staying Strong, Getting Oriented, Sleeping, and Fluid Shift.

National Air and Space Museum Education
16
 

Consciousness and instincts

When watching at birds you get surprised how well they build nests. Birds do it being obsessed by instincts. Nonetheless lions hunting catch victims not only are led by instincts. During hunting they can creat groups. And here a question arises. What makes them hunt with a group, instincts or all the same they are conscious of the process of groupping? What can do instinct? May it creat groups for so complicated process as hunting? Although in case with birds is seen well that instints assign birds to build nests. Birds conduct this process and fully act by influence of instincts. Instincts schedule birds. Supposed that lions hunt and unite in groups for hunting being under instincts. Then it points that instincts make organizational work. And what then is consciousness of a human? If instincts can handle so complicated process as groupping hunt then it can be supposed that instincts can manage consciousness of a human and task a human what to do. Here it is seen that instincts and consciousness tightly linked with one another.

Yura Yura
0
 

The Wright Stuff: Flying the Wright Flyer

The birth of aeronautical engineering began in the Wright brothers' bike shop in Dayton, Ohio. The family tree of airplanes can be traced back to the Wright brothers' 1903 Flyer. The principles of flight that got the Wrights into the air are the same today. Join STEM in 30 as we investigate the principles of flight and how the Wright Flyer made it into the air and into the history books.

December 14, 2016

STEM in 30 at National Air and Space Museum
34
 

What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene?

This collection was designed to serve as a bridge between the high school biology units of evolution and ecology as students explore the evolution of humanity through both a biological and moral lens.  Students will use Project Zero Thinking Routines to examine various artifacts from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History as they grapple with answering the overarching question: What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene?  #GoGlobal

What does it mean to be human in the Anthropocene? : Students answer/revise their initial answers to the overarching question after gaining additional knowledge from various learning activities: 

  • Claim/Support/Question:  Students use the Claim/Support/Question thinking routine to frame their thinking around and grapple with this question.
  • Skull Analysis > Human Evolution Misconceptions: After the discussion on human evolution misconceptions, students can revise their thoughts on "what it means to be human" and begin to develop a class list on the characteristics shared by humans.
  • Constructing an Ancestral Timeline: After constructing their timeline, students will have gained additional an understanding of specific morphological and behavioral characteristics of humans. 

Using this Collection: 

  • Detailed suggestions on how to implement the learning activities are found in the "information" section of each of the Blue Activity Tiles as well as the Project Zero Thinking Routine Tiles.
  • Notes regarding the use of each Project Zero Thinking Routine are documented as annotations within each individual Thinking Routine tile and provide specific instructions on how align these routines with this collection.  

Global Competence Connection:

  • Students will be challenged to “investigate the world” both in a modern and prehistoric sense as they explore this the resources in this collection.
  • One goal of this collection is to inspire students to take action as a result of considering the impacts that modern humans have had on the planet. 

Additional Questions Explored through this Collection:

  • What (specific behaviors, adaptations, etc.) allow species to survive?
    • This question can be highlighted during the skull sorting and analysis activities in order to help students review the concepts of adaptation, evolution by natural selection, etc. 
      • Extension: Teachers can project photos of these species in their natural environments and ask students to identify the adaptations that aid them in survival. This exploration can be used to explore full-body morphological differences between humans and non-humans.    
    • This question can also be explored as students analyze the Human Evolution Timeline Interactive. Teachers can ask students to compare and contrast the adaptations of various hominid species and propose ways in which these adaptations aided species to survive in their various environments. 
  • How have climatic changes impacted the survival of species over time?
    • This question can be presented as students explore the Interactive Human Evolution Timeline. The timeline presents data showing how the Earth's climate has fluctuated over the 8 million years of human evolution and highlights the fact that some of the most important milestones in human evolution occurred during the greatest climatic fluctuations. 
    • Teachers can use this exploration to foreshadow upcoming discussions of modern climate change.
  • How fragile is human life?
    • The Human Family Tree and Human Evolution Timeline interactives allow for thoughtful exploration of this question as they provide visualizations of hominid existence, individual species' lifespans in geologic time, and extinctions. 
    • Teachers can highlight the small amount of time that modern humans have existed in comparison to early humans as well as points in history that modern humans were faced with events that nearly caused extinction and ask students to grapple with the fragility of human life.  
  • Why do we matter as humans in the anthropocene?
    • This question serves as the bridge into the study of ecology and human impacts on the environment and challenges students to deeply consider their importance to their world. 


Aleah Myers
31
 

Photography and Image Manipulation

Guiding Questions:

What should a photograph look like?

Why might someone want to alter, change, or edit a photograph? What is the goal?

What are the ethical considerations regarding image manipulation?

Time- 1-2 class periods with optional extension activities

This collection includes images related to the topic of image manipulation and artistic photography, and includes a lesson plan for teachers as well as images and students activities related to media literacy across the curriculum. The collection of images and articles is designed to facilitate conversations around how and why images might be manipulated and for what purpose. Discussion questions and thinking routines allow for students to critically analyze the images as whole group and in small groups to consider why and how a photographer or artist might alter an image. Extension activities and resources are also included.

Day 1:

Warm Up/ Engagement:

What should a photograph look like?

Have students do a think-pair-share together addressing the question. Alternatively, this could be done as a silent chalk talk.

Debrief as a group.

Background:

Discuss:

Why might someone want to alter, change, or edit a photograph? What is the goal?

Have you ever altered or changed a photograph? How? Why? (Think Shapchat, Instagram, Photoshop, etc.)

Is it ever a problem to manipulate a photography? Why?

As critical viewers of media and images, students should always consider the audience and purpose of photographs. For example, an artistic photograph doesn’t have the same audience or purpose as a journalistic photograph.

Explain to students:

We’re going to look closely at the work of two photographers (Jerry Uelsmann and Robert Weingarten) to see how photographers might manipulate their images (digitally or otherwise), why they might do this, and the effect it has on the viewer.

Close Looking:

Lead students through a discussion of one of Uelsmann’s images by looking closely at one image as a group using the Visible Thinking routine, “See Think Wonder.”

Discuss the photographer’s likely message, audience and purpose of the image. Then have students consider how Uelsmann might have created the image.

Then, read an article about Jerry Uelsmann in Smithsonian Magazine, “Before Photoshop.”

Debrief the article and have students journal on their reactions to Uelsmann’s quote, “The camera is a license to explore.”

Alternatively, students can read and discuss the article,"Photography Changes What We Think 'Reality' Looks Like."

Have students share responses with the group as a closing activity.

Day 2

Warm-Up: Recap learning/connections from last class.

Explain that in today’s class we’ll consider the work of another artist and photographer, Robert Weingarten. Weingarten’s work is a “non-traditional” form of portraiture. Before looking at his images, have students brainstorm their ideas on what is a portrait. Students could engage in the 3-2-1 Bridge Routine on this topic.

Close Looking:

Lead students through a discussion of one of Weingarten’s  images by looking closely at one image as a group using the Visible Thinking routine, “Zoom-In.” After looking at the image as a whole, have students consider the image as as whole using the “Connect-Extend-Challenge” routine.

Weingarten’s portraits of Colin Powell and Celia Cruz are linked in the collection.

Discuss the photographer’s likely message, audience and purpose of the image. Then have students consider how Weingarten might have created the image.

After discussing the image, watch the video about Weingarten’s process.  

If time allows, group students into small groups to visually compare/contrast the works of Uelsmann and Weingarten on chart paper.

Exit Ticket:

How do these photographs change your understanding of photography and what can be done with images?

I used to think…

Now I think….

Possible Extension Activities:

Have students create a composite image (surreal landscapes or portraits)  inspired by Robert Weingarten or Jerry Uelsmann with their own photographs and Photoshop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmwrWCMdYqI

Have students explore other historical images that have been manipulated (intentionally or unintentionally) that are included in the collection.

Article on historical image manipulation from the ClickIt Exhibit

Have students look at the ethical issues in digitally manipulating photographs

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/retouching-reality-9-12

Have students consider other ways in which the evolution of technology has influenced the images we create.

Using Agency By Design, a design thinking framework, have students complete the following activities:

Parts-Purposes- Complexities Routine-- Digital Camera

Take-Apart Activity w/ digital cameras/analog camera

Have students research different topics in the history of photography including camera obscura, daguerreotype process, Muybridge and moving images, and Kodak.

Readings/Videos:

Additional reading on Uelsmann:

https://www.digitalphotopro.com/profiles/jerry-uelsmann-the-alchemist/

#visiblethinking

Allie Wilding
28
 

The Monsters of Our Minds or The Monsters of This Earth

For decades humans have depicted art in various forms that consist of monsters. This made me ask myself; what exactly is a monster? These pieces of art consist of images that their creators describe as monsters. I am going to delve in to the history behind these objects and symbols to figure out if they are really monsters or if our ideas of what makes an object or a person a monster skewed.

mariana addo
15
 

FINAL PROJECT HIST

Unique Cole
16
 

Beauty and Truth: The Dust Bowl

This collection explores Alexandre Hogue's 1933 painting Dust Bowl through a global thinking routine called "Beauty and Truth." Supporting materials help build historical and scientific context.

“Some may feel that in these paintings . . . I may have chosen an unpleasant subject, but after all the [drought] is most unpleasant. To record its beautiful moments without its tragedy would be false indeed. At one and the same time the [drought] is beautiful in its effects and terrifying in its results. The former shows peace on the surface but the latter reveals tragedy underneath. Tragedy as I have used it is simply visual psychology, which is beautiful in a terrifying way.” -Alexandre Hogue


Phoebe Hillemann
11
 

Aliens and How Close We've Come

A collection that focuses on what information has been collected on aliens, our contact with them directly or indirectly, how far we've come in our theories about them, how close we are to them, or if they even exist.

Caigea Milfort
27
 

Heat Shields - Keeping It Cool

This collection explores the function and chemistry of heat shields on spacecraft and their evolution over the years.

#MCteach

Virginia Miller
17
 

American Animal Conservation

DRAFT: What stories do the animals on the American Trail at the Smithsonian's National Zoo? Students will use the Project Zero Global Thinking Routine Unveiling Stories to uncover and consider the complexity around conservation. I asked students to consider more than just what is the initial stories. I wanted to know what they thought the human and world stories might be. With the success of these animals I wanted students to also consider what the new and untold stories that might remain. This thinking routine is a great way to explore the complicated stories of the gray wolf, bald eagle, beaver, brown pelican, California sea lion, common raven, North American river otter, and wood duck. #goglobal

Ellen Rogers
40
 

Breaking Barriers: Innovation and Industry

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2020, "Breaking Barriers in History."

These resources—including, objects, photographs, portraits, lesson plans, and articles—explore how technologies developed in the interest of advancing industrialization during the United States’ Second Industrial Revolution made it possible to overcome economic and social barriers, while, in some cases, unintentionally creating new ones. Innovators who developed technologies and tools to make every day living easier and more enjoyable, along with transportation technologies that broke barriers in terms of travel and movement, are also included in this collection. Users are also asked to consider the legacies of these inventions and their significance to innovation and industrialization through to today. The second resource of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of a chosen topic alongside photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

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

This collection was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment and @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2020. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2020 in the description!

Tags: factory, industry, invention, innovator, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel F. B. Morse, telegraph, Christopher Latham Sholes, typewriter, telephone, communication, technology, workers, labor, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, David Dubinsky, Asa Philip Randolph, John Llewellyn Lewis, Frances Perkins, Samuel Gompers, strike, boycott, union, Transcontinental, railroad, nineteenth century, 19th, twentieth, 20th, #NHD

EDSITEment
98
 

Ingenuity Challenge 2019

RebeccaBeakerhead
13
 

Erosion, Deposition and Weathering

Select one artifact in this collection to do "slow looking" using a See, Think, and Wonder.

Debbie Tannenbaum
12
 

What's a Lichen? How a Smithsonian Scientist Studies a Unique Symbiosis

This collection supports the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, "What's a Lichen? How a Smithsonian Scientist Studies a Unique Symbiosis,"  scheduled to air on November 14, 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 November 14, 2019. Sign up and view the program here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/...

Maggy Benson
29
 

Science of Spring

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.  The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original as we explore the indigenous and modern science behind the greening of the year.  Using science, culture and history, we examine humanity’s relationship to the natural ‘new year’ – a time when the earth and its creatures experience the rebirth, regeneration and new growth. Seed germination pairs with the story of Persephone returning from underground; the science and mystery of a simple egg link with new birth and lambs, birds and bunnies tales; the earth science of warming spring weather create a great atmosphere for learning and fun.  

Discovery Theater
48
 

Science Tellers: Escape from Earth

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. Throughout this amazing intergalactic story, we use science experiments to bring the story to life! In the second part of the show, we go “behind the scenes” of the special effects and recreate the science experiments with the help of volunteers from the audience. Don’t miss this action-packed and educational alien adventure. It's totally out of this world!

Discovery Theater
42
 

Designing Alternative Energy Solutions

Climate change is a huge issue facing our society. Our students have expressed tremendous concerns about the global impact of the climate crisis.

As part of this learning lab, student teams are tasked with designing and prototyping an alternative energy solution for NYC.

Before embarking on their own designs, students will use the resources to learn about earlier climate campaigns, what scientists and engineers are doing today and will explore models, prototypes and solutions that are already existent.

sara gottlieb
28
 

Exploring Solar Power at NMAAHC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the first museum on the National Mall to be recognized as a LEED Gold building due to its use of renewable energy sources and locally-sourced building materials. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications are granted to buildings and other structures  that meet global standards in areas such as water use, energy efficiency, and use of sustainable materials. One of the ways NMAAHC is using renewable energy is through the use of solar panels on its roof. Although the solar panels are not visible to our visitors, they produce enough energy to power 11 average-sized U.S. homes for a year.

Use this activity to engage your students in a lesson covering solar power, electricity, and the factors that affect its production. 

Keywords: solar, power, STEM, science, LEED, environment, energy, NMAAHC, African American, National Mall

National Museum of African American History and Culture
18
 

The Corona's Cooling Power

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is the first museum on the National Mall to be recognized as a LEED Gold building due to its construction using renewable energy sources and locally-sourced building materials. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications are granted to buildings and other structures  that meet global standards in areas such as water use, energy efficiency, and use of sustainable materials. To minimize energy use, the architects and engineers designed the building to allow lots of natural light inside of the museum. The Corona, the ornamental bronze-colored metal lattice that covers the museum like a crown covers a head, helps to keep the museum cool by allowing some sunlight inside, but by blocking the rest. As a result, the museum uses less electricity for lights and air conditioning. 

But how does it work? Have your students complete the following experiment to find out!

National Museum of African American History and Culture
15
 

Isaac Chang 1920s and 1930s Artifacts

The purpose of this project is to see how these artifacts relate to these time periods. How each one has made an impact on the 20s or the 30s.

Isaac Chang
10
 

Artifacts tell stories of the Encounter and Frontier

A collection of artifacts from which our students will choose an object of study for their first project cycle. Student swill be using historical, scientific, literary, mathematical and artistic techniques to help their chosen artifact tell a story of an encounter in history between two groups and/or cultures.

Andrew Meyers
47
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