Found 480 Learning Lab Collections
Visual art is a language that is socially and culturally constructed. Socially constructed learning values diverse perspectives, engages with local and global experts, and employs inquiry, discovery and exploration to move students toward global citizenship. Because the visual arts leverage the power of dialogue and debate to sharpen critical thinking, starting with the arts is a logical place to help students develop empathy for others while increasing their cultural intelligence.
This collection was created to support teachers and administrators who wish to better understand the various cultures in their schools. Using both Project Zero's Global Thinking Routines and strategies from Amy E. Herman's Visual Intelligence book, participants will practice articulating cultural perspectives and communicating across differences using artwork and primary sources from the vast collections of the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Participants will learn how to read a work of art, understand compositional hierarchy, and question what is missing. The frameworks provided by Project Zero and Amy E. Herman will allow everyone, even those not accustomed to discussing art, a place from which to begin using art as a foundation for building culturally-responsive curriculum.
Participants will see museums as the cultural ambassadors that they are and ask whose culture is being represented and whose is missing and why. Extending from this inquiry, participants will recognize the role schools play in nurturing and shaping the lives and identities of our students.
Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era explores the events of civil rights and the Vietnam War as they impacted African American life and culture. The mid 1950s to the 1970s was an era of great change in America as new social, political, and cultural perspectives began to reshape the American landscape. In Vietnam and at home, African Americans were impacted by these events resulting in a greater expression of political and cultural identity. This was the era of street demonstrations and court battles; of protest and musical expression; of Black arts and Black Power. African American men and women, Soul Soldiers, battled on two fronts, for equality at home and democracy abroad. Their service in war was valor and their activism in civil rights was historic.
This collection of materials was designed by the Heinz History Center for classroom use. Be sure to click on the info tab and/or paperclip icon on each time for additional information and suggested learning activities.
The postage stamp has a long and rich history within our visual culture. It is a carefully crafted micro-narrative, which often exhibits everyday representations or the spirit of a nation. A good micro-narrative can have a substantial impact in a quick timeframe. They often come from our shared culture – they are parts of stories we communicate, that mark our achievements, struggles, and understanding of our collective culture. They are concise and lead us quickly into making better sense of the world we are in and designing for.
The postage stamp in its limited real estate, is a wonderful study of a carefully crafted micro-narrative. It can build a shared sense of national belonging amongst humans or a sense of tribalism through national identity. They are composed of three essential pieces of information in their design: subject, stamp value, and country of origin. The reference of the country provides context for the subject, which often reflects the country’s national and cultural identity.
This collection serves as a visual aid to expose and explore the design principles and techniques necessary to communicate a concise message within a restricted space.
CONSIDERATIONS: use of visual components in a formal, conceptual, and systematic method
The design and arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter.
+ Type as a system and vehicle for communication.
+ Type used as image, type as form, typographic color, typographic structure, typographic systems
and hierarchy, active white space as punctuation, tempo, and rhythm.
A tangible or visible representation and/or a vivid or graphic representation or description.
+ Images used as a vehicle for communication and storytelling.
+ Photographs, illustrations, and visual representations like icons, indexes, and symbols. Images
used as type, images used as form, images used as color, and images used as structure.
+ The Hierarchy of images, i.e. alpha, beta, infra.
The shape and structure of something as distinguished from its material. Geometric and organic form, graphic simplification, patterns, textures, abstractions, reductions.
+ Form used as type, form used as image, form used as color, and form used as structure.
+ Form/counter investigations, navigation and direction, active white space.
A phenomenon of light or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects.
+ Color can be used in both a functional and symbolic role.
Something arranged in a definite pattern of organization. Grid systems, visual organizations, and compositions.
+ Structure used as type, structure used as image, structure used as form, and structure used
Formal (syntax) and conceptual (semantics) connections.
Information to be communicated or “story being told.” Thematic cultural, social, and historical reflection. Conceptual story, metaphor, or message.
Semiotics - se.mi.ot.ics: a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals primarily with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactic, semantics, and pragmatics.
• Semiotic theory is a branch of linguistics that has become a useful tool in two-dimensional design for understanding the relationships between the viewer/user, the form that conveys a message, and the message’s meaning.
Syntactics – syn.tac.tics: A branch of semiotics that deals with the formal relationship between signs or expressions in abstraction from their signification and their interpreters.
• Syntactic refers to the formal relationship among elements in a composition or among related forms. When analyzing a form for its syntactic qualities, you might ask yourself: Are all the parts of the form arranged to appear unified?
Semantics – se.man.tics: a branch of semiotics dealing with the relationship between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth: the meaning or relationship on meaning of a sign or set of signs.
• Semantic refers to the relationship between form and its meaning. When analyzing a form for semantic qualities, you should ask yourself: Does the form adequately reflect its meaning? Is the meaning singular or multiple, ambiguous or clear? Which of these is more desirable?
Pragmatics – prag.mat.ics: relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters: Practical as opposed to idealistic.
• Pragmatic refers to the relationship between a form and its user. This aspect examines a sign when it is applied. When analyzing a form for its pragmatics, consider these questions: Is the form related to its context? Is it understandable in its context?
• Excerpts from Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function by John Bowers, pg. 22
Assistant Professor | Art Department | Pace University-NYC
This collection includes a variety of representations of the Statue of Liberty--as a protest object, on an environmental campaign poster, on a postage stamp, and as a symbol used on patterned clothing. In small groups, learners will apply three scaffolded Visible Thinking Routines to a resource of their choice. First, they will use a "See, Think, Wonder" thinking routine to note their observations and interpretations as well as anything about which they are curious. Next, they will analyze the resource using the "Layers" thinking routine. As an optional step, they could also consider the artist or creator of the object's point of view/perspective in creating the resource, with the "Step Inside" thinking routine. Finally, they will create an artwork or representation that depicts a cause that is important to a community of which they are a member.
A final item from the American Jewish Historical Society includes information on a student contest running from September 2019 until May 2020, where students create a new poem based on Emma Lazarus' s"New Colossus" on the Statue of Liberty.
This curriculum pack was produced by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and includes everything you need to teach about the town of Homestead and how it reflects changes in American society. The student text includes readings that you can give directly to your students, and the info tab includes suggested teaching activities. Primary sources and biographies with suggested activities are also included (be sure to click on the paper clip and/or info icon on each item to find out more about it).
This collection explores the unique forms of storytelling found in choreography and portraiture. It demonstrates examples of artists that communicate universal narratives and express diverse perspectives without words. Photographs of war veterans by Louie Palu and the veterans’ experiences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) inspired the featured dance. Students can watch a video interview with the choreographer, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, and answer guided questions from Project Zero's "Claim, Support, Question" thinking routine.
This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Tags: dance, dancing, choreography, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), narrative, interpretation, analysis
With this collection, students can explore people's stories of moving to a new country or culture (both forced and voluntarily), and then walk, fly, or sail "a mile in their shoes" to imagine some of the challenges they encountered in moving to their new home.
Then, they can write up their own family stories, using a variety of resources including a "Today I Am Here" homemade book, or PBS Learning Media's resources, "Digging at the Roots of Your Family Tree."
This collection supports Unit 1: Precious Knowledge - Exploring notions of identity and community, Personal history / identit / membership / agency, of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part A course.
This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
This student activity explores Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" using two Project Zero Thinking Routines to help students think critically and globally. The work is a metaphorical representation of the unrest taking place in Iraq, and more broadly, an exploration of the human condition during times of crisis.
Included here are 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, an array of prompts and Learning Lab tools, and an assignment. This collection is adapted from a larger teaching collection on the same theme (Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" ( http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll...), that includes extension activities.
This collection was originally designed for a workshop for pre-service teachers at Trinity Washington University. It is intended to demonstrate, and asks workshop participants to consider, various ways to use the Learning Lab and its tools. #TWUtech
Keywords: #LatinoHAC, Latinx, Latino, global competency, competencies
This student activity explores the Holocaust through art - three sculptures and one photograph of an artwork, with additional references to give historical context . Using two of Harvard's Project Zero Thinking Routines, students take a deeper dive into the material through guided looking and by considering the significance of the Holocaust personally, to the country and to the world.
This understands the building and inspiration planned upon in Chihuly's work. Through his mark makings, and his interest in space he delves into a world of chance and perseverance through his work. In this collection, this will be a test run of artistic research for a students personal art making journey. As a student perspective, he/or she this would be research sought after a museum visit. Eventually this collection would be use as a guide and a way to organize their own thoughts for their art or class assignment.
Image analysis of these photos can reveal how community life in the Tahoe area has changed over time, and with it so has the environment. This exercise can help students to understand how our lives are different from those who lived here in the past, and how they are similar. Students will also be able to differentiate between things that happened long ago and things that happened recently. This can provoke thought and discussion about how events from the past still have an effect on the landscape today. Simply click the paperclip in each image to see the questions or prompts pertaining to the time period in which the photo was taken.
Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential campaign poster and paraphernalia
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2017 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
After using the "Seven Ways to Look at a Portrait" strategy, students create self-portraits in the style of Kehinde Wiley that incorporates study symbolism, self-identity narrative, and reflection on the poses of traditional American portraiture. This lesson requires access to computer technology, a camera (mobile phone is fine), a green screen background, a green screen phone app or program, and ideally a printer.
Explore a few famous Americans in the fields of art and sports whose exceptional talents and tenacity raised the bar for everyone in their fields.
The resources in this collection are pulled directly from the National Gallery of Art’s online course Teaching Critical Thinking through Art. Based on the popular Art Around the Corner professional development program for teachers in Washington, D.C., this five-unit online course provides everything you need to begin creating a culture of critical thinking and collaboration for any classroom, subject, or level. You do not need an art background or museum access to successfully integrate the course materials into your teaching. Your willingness to experiment with new teaching practices is all that is required.
Find demonstrations, lesson plans, and videos here on the edX platform! Now in English, Español, Français, and 简体中文
A good visual can often be the key to understanding (and remembering) a seemingly abstract concept. This collection demonstrates how artworks in the Smithsonian American Art Museum may be used to teach common literary devices in the English/language arts classroom such as metaphor, irony, symbolism, and more.
Key words: allegory, allusion, anthropomorphism, foreshadowing, irony, juxtaposition, metaphor, mood, motif, satire, suspense, symbol
This collection complements teaching The Great Gatsby using the lens of economics. Informational texts provide foundation for questions like: why should we care about economic inequality?
Understanding Haitian Culture though Art
This lesson will support teaching Haitian traditions and culture through the Frost Art Museum collections. It will also provide a look into cultural identity, Haitianite supported by research conducted by two FIU faculty members . The PowerPoint will expand on Haitian history and the notes will add talking points. The Miami Dade County Public School lessons support various investigations from the past to the present.
Connections to the Polish Black Virgin demonstrate the spread of culture and religious beliefs that traveled as countries were conquered.
Teaching with the Smithsonian Learning Lab: A Workshop for George Washington University Faculty and Graduate Students
For the workshop, Teaching with the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab – Millions of Resources at Your Fingertips! (January 8, 2020), this is a collection of digital museum resources and instructional strategies. It includes a warm-up activity, a close-looking exercise, and supporting materials for participants to create their own teaching collections.
This collection was co-created with Tess Porter.
Technological advancements contributed to World War I costing more money and killing more people than all previous wars in history.
Students will be able to answer the question: What kinds technology existed during the First World war and what were their impacts on the war?
This set of activities is designed to encourage students to think critically about how an artist’s race, background, and experiences might impact their ability to fairly and accurately tell the story of a different person or group - an "other."
Specifically, students will look at the creations of two white men - the painting Wi-jún-jon, Pigeon's Egg Head (The Light) Going To and Returning From Washington by George Catlin and the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck - to analyze how the whiteness of these two artists might have affected their ability to fairly portray the indigenous people they sought to memorialize. Using primary source texts written by the artists themselves, students will conduct an inquiry into the possible motives and biases of these men in order to assess whether they, as white outsiders to the groups on which they focused, did or even could tell their stories accurately. The question students will be tasked with answering in writing as a culminating exercise is whether a white man can fairly and accurately tell the story of an indigenous people?
In terms of purpose, the study of the painting is intended to supplant a traditional anticipation guide to help students prepare to read The Pearl and also to provide a lens through which to analyze the text.
This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Tennessee Williams, an American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.
- What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?
- How are these portraits both fact and fiction?
- How do these portraits reflect how they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created (such as Time Magazine, stamp, etc.).
- Having read one of his plays, does the portrait capture your image of Tennessee Williams? Why, or why not?
- If you were creating your own portrait of Tennessee Williams, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?
Keywords: mississippi, ms, play, author, streetcar named desire, writer
Use this collection of textiles as part of a geometry unit. After reviewing shapes, lines, and angles, students can focus on how the patterns repeat, flip, slide, and turn. Once students have had the chance to investigate some textiles, they can use Tinkercad to create their own design that will be come a stamp when 3D printed. The final step is for students to reflect on their design and printing by doing the following:
- One stamped design on the page
- Draw lines of symmetry on it
- Label the shapes used in the design
- Tell what kind of pattern used on felt rectangle - Dot, Stripe, Block
- Tell is there is rotation (turn), reflection (flip), translation (slide)
Thank you to Learning Lab contributor, Christopher Sweeney, for inspiring me while designing this unit!
How do artists create portraits? Students will take a close look at modern and contemporary portraiture through the lens of artists’ decisions, paying particular attention to the different approaches that artists take to their subject matter and the different processes that they use in making their art.