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Found 6,947 Collections


Where would we BEE without them?

Explore bees' behavior and their role in pollination through real-world sources and data and meet Smithsonian experts in the field. This collection includes instructional strategy, student activities, assessment, and extension ideas. Organization is made visible by divider tabs indicating such components as concept understanding, Project Zero thinking routines, and calls to action.

Keywords: animal, insect, plant adaptation, animal communication, flowers, pollen, honey, hive, engineering, entomologist, pollinator, colony, system

Sue Pike

Where our food is coming from?

The first part of a collection reflects my understanding Dan Barber's ideas how to grow food. Photographs of the second part represent China and some aspects of China's history and culture emphasized in Search for General Tso documentary.

Larisa Berezhnaya

When Slavery was abolished, was racisim created?

#TeachingInquiry (coursework)
With the abolition of slavery, did the racisim towards the black Americans become more or less radical? Has the emancipation of the black community really been abolished, or, in this modern day society is the blackman still being enslaved to preconceptions of colour and community?
Maria Mitchell

When Marian Sang: Using Portraiture for Pre-reading and Post-reading Activities

In this collection, portraits are used for both pre-reading and post-reading activities in connection with reading a biography of Marian Anderson. The pre-reading activity uses Betsy Graves Reyneau's oil on canvas portrait, Marian Anderson, to begin to reveal Anderson to students. Post-reading activities include the use of photographs, video and William H. Johnson's oil on paperboard Marian Anderson to enhance understanding of Anderson's 1939 concert and to informally access student learning.  

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson: The Voice of a Century is a picture book written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick. This biography shares the story of opera star Marian Anderson's historic concert of 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an integrated crowd of over 75,000 people. The book recounts Marian's life as a she trains to become an opera singer and as she struggles with the obstacles she faces in pre-Civil Rights America. This picture book is an excellent choice to use in the upper elementary classroom in the context of a unit that focuses on "challenges and obstacles."

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute. 


Katie Oxnard

When Irish American eyes are smilin'

This is a collection of objects, from the National Museum of American History, that were selected by museum staff for what they reveal about the Irish American experience.

The manager of Museum Advisory Committees in the museum's Office of External Affairs, Daniel Gifford is a scholar of holidays (see his post on Thanksgiving cartoons) and the history of vacationing in America. Timothy Winkle is the deputy chair and curator in the Division of Home and Community Life. Eric Jentsch is the deputy chair and curator in the Division of Culture and the Arts. Christy Wallover is a project assistant in the Division of Armed Forces History.

Philippa Rappoport

When East Meets West: The Story of Mehmed II

This is the story of Mehmed the Conqueror, perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman sultans. His victory over Constantinople on May 29, 1453 not only ended the Byzantine Empire, but forged the path for his predecessors to create one of the most expansive empires in the world. 

#NPGteach #npgteach #MehmedII #Ottoman Empire #sultan #EastMeetsWest #empire #history #Byzantines

Julia Guilfoyle

When East "Meets" West

The Ottoman Empire
Julia Guilfoyle

When did women achived equal rigths in North America? #TeachingInquiry

This collection pretends to show how women fought for equal rigths and the importance in history

Mariana Silveira

When American Bureaucracy Fails; Voices of Dissent (Protest Artists)

America has many great moments fraught with many historical misses.  In other words, for every great feat in American history, there are equal moments of trouble and shame in her behavior.  The failure of America is often human failures, tragic moments where our government failed to act or stand up (i.e., Hurricane Katrina).  Or, it could be duplicitous in egregious behaviors (i.e., Dred Scott Decision, Plessy vs. Ferguson, chattel slavery).  But, historical textbooks do not traditionally frame this dual narrative.  Instead, students tend to get the laudable narrative of bravery, prowess, ingenuity, and individualism.  Or, textbooks gloss over deeply problematic issues that actually resurface in contemporary society today.  But, works of art can always provide the pointed narrative that textbooks attempt to dismiss.  Dissenters have a place in the canon as well, and it is vital for educators to bring them in the fold in teaching American history and literature.

This unit is for teachers!  These works have been curated for their social protest against American bureaucracy, especially in its moments of failure.  It is important for teachers to fully read and study text BEFORE sharing with students.  Please check the "temperature" of your audience!

Angelann Stephens

Wheels and Axles


  • Identify the shape of a wheel
  • Experiment with differently shaped wheels   
  • Learn that wheels and axles help heavy things move 
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center

Wheels and Axles


  • Identify the shape of a wheel
  • Experiment with differently shaped wheels   
  • Learn that wheels and axles help heavy things move 
Meredith Osborne

What's Your Problem? A Look at the Environment in Your Own Backyard

Students take on a local environmental challenge in the lesson plans of this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom. Before deciding on a problem to tackle, they try interviewing local folks about the state of the community's environment and how it has changed through the years.

Click the PDF icon to see the Smithsonian in Your Classroom. Then check out oral-history interviewing tips on the site of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife. Also included below is an audio presentation on deer life by Smithsonian scientist Bill McShea.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

What's My Style? | Kehinde Wiley

Imagery from Kehinde Wiley.

What common elements can we identify within this collection of the artist's works?

Peter Curran

What's in a name?

This collection is based on a lesson in Bruce Lesh's "Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?" and on a Smithsonian National Museum of American History lesson (both cited fully below). In this lesson, students will evaluate primary source material in order to develop an appropriate name for the site of the 1876 battle at Little Bighorn River. This collection allows students to explore the following questions:

  • Why do different interpretations of history develop? How do they change over time?
  • When thinking about conflicts in history, whose perspectives are valued and remembered?

tags: Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Little Big Horn, continuity, change over time, perspective, historiography, point of view, Native American, indigenous, American Indian, Sioux, Greasy Grass

Kate Harris

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:

Maggy Benson

What Would Frida Wear?

This collection provides students the opportunity to dress artist Frida Kahlo in traditional Mexican garb that she favored, the huipil and the quechquemitl.

Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan on July 6, 1907.  Thoughout her life Frida was a fierce nationalist and a vocal socialist. As a reflection of her beliefs, Frida often wore the indigenous clothing of Mexico.  This can be seen both in photographs of her and in her paintings.  Frida completed 143 paintings during her lifetime, 55 of which are self-portraits.  Many of these self-portaits are among her most famous works.  

Most of the costumes Frida wears were hand-woven, as well as hand embroidered and stitched.  The colors and many of the symbols used in her work are clearly influenced by Mexican tradition.

She died in 1954.


Arizona State Museum

What Will You Stand For? Video Resources

Throughout American History, young people have led, influenced, and defined the outcomes of our elections and politics. By organizing, lobbying, advocating, protesting, and voting, young voices supply our democracy with a never-ending source of fresh ideas, concerns, and hopes. This tradition continues today, as voters ages 18 to 24 make up the biggest potential voting bloc in modern elections.

This Learning Lab collection can be used in conjunction with a short video that challenges young people to reflect on and discuss “What will you stand for?” Find the video and additional resources here:

This video is part of a series of short films from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History that looks at how young people have historically shaped public opinion and outcomes. These brief videos help young people learn from the civic actions of youth in the past to become thoughtful, informed, and active participants in their democracy today. Through historical stories of youth engaged in our elections and politics, these videos show how youth have made history through civic action and challenge today’s young people to continue shaping their democracy. 

National Museum of American History

What were the causes of U.S. imperialism?

This collection examines the causes of U.S. imperialism at the turn of the century through the lens of two political cartoons. Students will investigate both cartoons and develop a definition of imperialism based on what they find.

Kate Harris

What We Cannot NOT know


Lindsey Keenan

What was Connecticut’s role in the American Revolution?

This collection of artifacts reflect Connecticut in the American Revolution. #C3Framework #TeachingInquiry
Laura Krenicki

What Training Do I Need to Be an Astronaut?

Did you know that training for a spacewalk requires a 6.5 million gallon swimming pool, a team of divers, and a mock-up of the International Space Station? Astronauts have to train for a variety of different jobs they have to do in low Earth orbit. Once on the station, astronauts run science experiments (sometimes on themselves), fix toilets, and run the robotic arm. Do you think you have what takes to complete astronaut training? Find out on this STEM in 30.

February 28, 2018

National Air and Space Museum

What stories do artifacts tell?

This student activity asks students to develop a story about a mystery artifact, editing and adjusting their narrative as they discover more information. Students will develop historical thinking skills while learning more about the experience of living in a specific time and place.

tags: Japan, internment, incarceration, Manzanar, World War II, World War 2, WW2, Executive Order 9066, Roosevelt, FDR


Kate Harris
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