Found 480 Learning Lab Collections
The Darkest Month contains activities, primary sources, and other information to help teach students about the effect of transportation in western Pennsylvania (be sure to click on the paper clip and/or info icon on each item to find out more about it).
This resource was originally created to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Darr and Monongah coalmining disasters – two of the worst coalmining disasters in American history. Occurring in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, and Monongah, West Virginia, these devastating mine explosions revealed the overly hazardous conditions faced by immigrant coalminers drawn to the Pittsburgh Coal Seam by the prospect of work. The story of the miners who perished in December of 1907, known at the time as the “dreadful month” because of a string of mining disasters nationwide that left nearly 3,000 miners dead, affords a long overdue opportunity to discuss the historical impact of coalmining on the greater Pittsburgh region. It also illuminates larger social history themes including the interrelationship of immigration, industry, capitalism, and organized labor. The fact that these industrial disasters occurred in 1907, the peak year of immigrant arrivals to Ellis Island, underscores the centrality of immigration to the American coalmining story. With heavy attention on ethnic life, these resources show how European immigrants modeled their Old World lives within their new industrial homes and used these institutions to survive their day to day work in an extremely dangerous industry.
This collection will be used to supplement students' rhetorical analysis of The Declaration of Independence. Earlier in the year, students discussed the paradoxical nature of the Puritans arriving in the New World to escape religious intolerance, yet they were exceedingly intolerant of other religions (i.e., Quakers). In a similar fashion, we'll examine the Declaration of Independence and a critical portion deliberately removed: references to abolishing slavery. We will examine a variety of works of art, noting the clues they give us regarding our founding fathers' often complex ideologies. #SAAMteach
A Detailed lesson plan follows in the "Notes to Other Users."
This collection serves as a preview for the first seminar session of the 2018 Smithsonian-Montgomery College Faculty Fellowship Program. This year's theme is “We the People: America’s Grand and Radical Experiment with Democracy.”
National Portrait Gallery curator Asma Naeem and educator Briana Zavadil White will present an engaging and interactive examination of the democratization of portraiture in the United States, and model close looking techniques that Fellows can use with their students. Included within are a presentation description, participant bios, a "reading portraiture" guide, and images and articles for participants to consider in advance of the session.
Christopher Columbus, Yarrow Mamout, Charles Mingus, Lena Horne, Leonard Roy Harmon, Bill Viola
Is American Culture always perceived in the same way by everyone or does it differ from person to person?
The Smithsonian Institute holds several digitized manuscripts that outline the path to freedom for African Americans with the most central being the Emancipation Proclamation. On January 1, 1963, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation as a military act that freed slaves in the rebellion states. The document itself, however, succeeded the District of Columbia Emancipation Act (1962), which freed slaves in Washington, D.C. eight months prior, and proceeded the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Juneteenth Proclamation. One hundred years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specified social justice mandates not written in the aforementioned documents. The Act outlawed discrimination in the United States and legally instituted what the Emancipation Proclamation only proposed.
This collection chronicles the drafting of these five critical manuscripts and the events and ideologies that spurred subsequent legislation. Students will study digitized images of the Emancipation Proclamation and examine reasons that portions of the text necessitated legal amendments. The collection includes a student activity for teacher use.
Keywords: African American History, American History, NMAAHC, The District of Columbia Emancipation Act, Emancipation Proclamation, 13th Amendment, Juneteenth, Civil Rights Act of 1964
This collection of teaching resources includes lesson plans and multimedia resources about the engineering design process. There are several lesson plans on architecture and engineering concepts of design, such as simple shelters, balance, and materials. The videos and illustrations explain what engineers do and the fundamental engineering design process.
This lesson includes:
- A video by Crash Course Kids titled "What's an Engineer? Crash Course Kids #12.1" (4:30)
- A video by Crash Course Kids titled "The Engineering Process: Crash Course Kids #12.2" (5:17)
- Two models of the Engineering Design Process by Preschool Steam
- Engineering/architecture activities from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum for Pre-Kindergarten-1st Grade
This activity can be used on its own or as a starting point for an interdisciplinary exploration of the global implications of HIV/AIDS.
This collection includes a three-part activity that can be modified by choosing to spend more or less time considering other viewpoints on HIV/AIDS. It uses Project Zero Thinking Routines and several images that allow students to explore multiple perspectives on HIV/AIDS. I have also created a separate collection with more images that could be used as starting points for further conversation called “The Global Implications of HIV/AIDS - An Interdisciplinary Exploration.”
The focus of this particular collection is to allow students to begin exploring at the individual level and then keep zooming out to the global level to engage with HIV/AIDS as a global issue.
Part I: The individual and Individuals within a Society
Using a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and the Project Zero Thinking Routine “See, Think, Wonder,” students can begin the conversation about the toll of HIV/AIDS on the individual level. Depending on student comments, this could also involve individuals within a society. The video included here could be shown as a follow-up explanation or could simply be used to help the teacher and not shown to students. The images of the quilt panel and the poster could both be used with the Project Zero Thinking Routine “Circle of Viewpoints” to help further the society or systems approach. These images allow students to explore the political complexities and how this can directly impact individuals within a group. Again, the video included could be used to enhance teacher and/or student knowledge.
Part II: Engaging in conversations about Society and Global Issues
Students will use the Project Zero Thinking Routine “See, Think, Wonder” to explore the Gapminder HIV Chart graphic (axes have been removed). If the group of students you are working with have less experience with thinking routines in general or are less inclined to take risks in sharing out, skip to the original version of the Gapminder HIV Chart graphic instead. At either starting point, more information can be revealed as students pose thoughts and wonders about the data provided. The link to the TedTalk can help students better understand what the graph is showing and perhaps be another starting point for a dialogue on the complexities of HIV/AIDS.
Part III: Reflection
There is some reflection built into the “Circle of Viewpoints” Thinking Routine but it is worthwhile to also reflect at the end of the activity. I have provided the Project Zero “I used to think…But now I think” Thinking Routine slide but a teacher could also choose to return to the Wrap Up questions provided from the earlier “Circle of Viewpoints” Thinking Routine and revisit what the students had mentioned from Part II.
This collection is created in conjunction with a professional development workshop facilitated by the National Portrait Gallery and Teaching with Primary Sources Northern Virginia (TPSNVA is funded by a grant from the Library of Congress).
Have you ever wondered if a portrait is a primary source? In this workshop, we will examine portraits from the Portrait Gallery, along with primary sources from the Library of Congress, to consider this question and explore connections between the two distinct collections. Participants will brainstorm and come up with strategies to incorporate these rich resources into their English and social studies curriculum.
How did African Americans attempt to travel safely in the United States during the age of Jim Crow?
This Learning Lab investigates the question of African American travel during the age of Jim Crow, and how the Green Book assisted by providing African American a directory of welcoming hotels, motels, travel lodges, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities as they journeyed throughout the United States. This Learning Lab employs the use of primary source analysis of NMAAHC and other Smithsonian unit objects and outside media clips to help answer this question.
NMAAHC, African American, Green, book, travel, Jim Crow, car, road,
segregation, hotel, motel, gas station, restaurants, United States, primary
Through photographs, text, videos, interviews, a map & a 3D model, students can explore the history of the oldest surviving American naval vessel, the Gunboat Philadelphia, which is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Philadelphia (1776) played an important role during the Revolutionary War. The first five resources in this collection show the discovery and preservation of the sunken boat, while the last three offer more information on its historical significance.
This could be used by students to consider what each type of media reveals. What information can you learn from the single resource? From the collection of media combined? What more context is needed?
This is an example of how to build teacher-made materials into a scripted curriculum. My school uses the curriculum, EngageNY, to teach middle school English language arts. In 6th grade, the students read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to study the genre of mythology, elements of mythology and theme, allusion, and the archetype of The Hero's Journey.
Resources created are shared through a living Google Doc in order to make it easier to make a copy and change to fit the needs of individual teachers and students. #SAAMteach
Students will explore these sources to spark inquiry and investigation about how the Civil War impacted American society.
- Students can complete the sorting activity to categorize the images.
- Students should select one source they find most intriguing and generate questions about the source and its related topic by completing the quiz question.
This lesson will examine how innovation in the distribution of food had a lasting effect on the consumer, the worker and the community.
Students will be invited to study Ralph Fasanella's Iceman Crucified. They will start by examining the painting with the VTS method: What’s going on in this picture?, What do you see that makes you say that? and What more can we find?
Students will then be introduced to our set of supporting documents. At the conclusion of studying these sources we will revisit Iceman Crucified using the Step Inside: Perceive, Know about, Care about. This will include questions: What can the person or thing perceive? What might the person or thing know about or believe? What might the person or thing care about?
Students will end with a creative assignment that will ask them to give a Eulogy on the iceman
This collection explores the evolving history of how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The introductory video, podcast and lesson in the collection help provide context for the complicated portrayal and depiction of what actually happened at the first Thanksgiving and how it is celebrated today.
The images in this collection are different portrayals of the holiday over time. They have been grouped in order of publication from 1863 to 1994. As you look through them and complete the activities, think about these three key questions:
- How does the context in which an image was produced affect the result? Meaning, how does what was happening at the time affect what kind of picture of Thanksgiving we see?
- What do the images say about our national identity: who is welcome in the United States? What do we celebrate and why? Whose version of the Thanksgiving story does each image tell?
This collection, based of the exhibition "Imperfectly Beautiful: Inventing Japanese Ceramic Style" is integrated in a unit on Francis Ponge’s collection of poems called The nature of things, 1942, France. In his poems, Ponge has a unique way of focusing on everyday life objects and symbols that he describes in very tiny details. The goal is to explore how Ponge’s perception of objects and symbols can be used as an entry point for an exploration of key components of other cultures. This collection is an opportunity for the students to understand how micro perspectives can lead to global and intercultural understanding.
The collection represents tea pots used for the Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu). Through slow looking techniques, students explore them and write poems using the thinking routine "Creative Comparison".
Step 1: choose one of the tea pot and sketch it
Step 2: Pair and Share - Explain your choice. What did you notice? what do you notice in your classmate's choice/object?
Step 3: Creative Comparison
The thinking routine " Creative comparison" encourages metaphorical thinking – central to the work of any artist and to creative thinking in any discipline. Metaphors provoke our imaginations to create comparisons between dissimilar things, often leading to deeper and richer understanding of each." (PZ)
Step 4: Pair and Share (with someone else) - Explain your choice. What did you notice? what do you notice in your classmate's choice/object?
Step 5 : read the description of the exhibition and the caption. Answer the questions:
- In what way this new information influences your interpretation?
- What does it confirm? What new ideas do you have?
- What could you do to integrate them in your poem?
Step 6 : write a poem, using Francis Ponge's approach to objects.
Ask the students to reflect on ways to curate their poems, using the thinking routine "Layers".
For instance, my students decided to do a a pop-up exhibition. They turned their poems into bilingual bookmarks for the school fair. It was a good opportunity for us to talk about translation.
The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States is a collection of resources for educators to refer to when introducing the Constitution of the United States with a specific emphasis on the preamble. Mike Wilkins Preamble is used as a featured piece of artwork to give students an initial introduction to the text of the primary source document. #SAAMteach
How do contemporary artists grapple with the under- and misrepresentation of certain minorities in portraiture and American history? Participants will explore the newly unveiled portraits of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley and former First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald and discuss how these artists are looking to the past to paint the present. After close reading these images, participants will consider how artists Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar, in the exhibition “UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light,” uncover voices previously unheard.
How do we represent our roots artistically? What can a portrait tell us about the sense of identity of the subject? Focusing on a famous athlete from the Dominican Republic, students will explore the personal history of the pitcher, Pedro Martínez, and how his cultural pride is portrayed on canvas. Class members will read a recent biography of Martínez before examining his portrait, Pride and Determination, currently on exhibition in Twentieth-Century Americans: 1990 to Present. #NPGteach
This teaching collection and student activity includes the resources necessary to teach an EDSITEment lesson on the Ramayana where students read closely to find examples of the Hindu concept of dharma.
Guiding questions are:
- What is dharma?
- How does the Ramayana teach dharma, one of Hinduism's most important tenants?
tags: Hinduism, Hindu, India, dharma, Ramayana, rama, epic, Vishnu
- How can we learn more about history through a photograph?
- How do social factors, such as racism, influence change?
- How much power do American citizens have to change government policies?
- What factors drove the Jim Crow era and segregation after the Civil War?
- How did Americans push back against discrimination, specifically segregation, and fight for civil rights?
This series of lessons is designed as a broad introduction to the factors leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. Students will look closely at the 13th, 4th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution. Students will then explore some of the factors leading to and consequences of the rise of segregated America during the Jim Crow era in the years following the Civil War. They will look closely at powerful images that exemplify some of the Jim Crow laws, and then explore some of the court cases and responses of citizens that helped to bring about some changes leading up to and during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Time: 3-4 class periods with optional maker project assessment.
Anticipatory set: Have students complete a chalk talk to unravel their definitions of equality vs. racism. Discuss and formally define equality and racism.
Looking closely: Share the image of the water fountains and notice similarities and differences (Optional opportunity to use the See - Think - Wonder thinking routine). Discuss context of Jim Crow era and explain we will be exploring what factors led to these laws and how people fought to change them.
Have students look closely at the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and dissect the language of the amendments to understand their meaning using the Parts, Purposes, Messages thinking routine. Read page one of iCivics Jim Crow handout. Students should record examples of equality and racism on post it notes as they read. When finished, they can add these post it notes to the chalk talk posters with definitions of equality and racism as they discuss their examples.
Anticipatory set: Use the Imagine if... thinking routine to have groups of students explore challenging Jim Crow era issues.
Looking closely: Read "Jim Crow and the Great Migration" and have students continue to record examples of equality vs. racism on post it notes to add to the chalk talk posters from yesterday. Explore powerful Jim Crow images with a chalk talk using the Reporter's Notebook thinking routine.
Discuss how some people began to speak out against the injustices of the Jim Crow laws, both directly and indirectly. Compare and contrast the approaches of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois. Then read "I, too" by Langston Hughes. Students should complete the See/Hear - Think - Wonder during their first listen. Then students can deconstruct the poem in groups, paying attention to both the literal and figurative meaning of the metaphor of the kitchen in the poem.
Exit ticket/Reflection: What are the multiple meanings of the kitchen in the poem, "I, too," by Langston Hughes? What was his purpose for writing this poem?
Anticipatory set: Use the Making it Fair: Now, Then, Later thinking routine to start to identify how people could have made these Jim Crow restrictions more fair.
Looking closely: Read "The Road to Civil Rights" handout from iCivics. Students can add equality vs. racism post its to their original chalk talks. Watch the video of the sit-in reenactment (optional - reenact a sit-in in the classroom). Look closely at images of marches, sit-ins, boycotts, and court cases and use the Reporter's Notebook thinking routine to notice the layers of interactions during the events.
Optional assessment: Introduce the Journey to Civil Rights maker project. Allow students 3-4 days to work on their artifacts and essay explaining their choices.
This collection was made to pair with a learning experience during the November 17th workshop for Pittsburgh teachers working with the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Teachers will visit the Steamboat Arabia exhibit and learn from a Heinz History Center curator about the decisions made and limitations faced when creating an exhibit for visitors to learn from.
Both the online collection and the Heinz History Center exhibit explore the question "How do new innovations in transportation affect American life?"
The collection below contains artifacts and images from the Smithsonian collection that might help students and teachers respond to the question above. Suggested scaffolding questions might include:
- Identify the changes in technology and transportation that occurred between 1800-1850.
- How did these new transportation systems impact the movement and interactions of groups of people, the expansion of trade, and cultural life on the frontier?
- How do the items in this collection compare to what was found during the recovery of the Steamboat Arabia?
This Collection contains resources to help students understand the three branches of government in the United States.
SWBT identify and describe the purposes of each branch of the United States government.
This collection contains the provocative piece The Way They Was and asks students to make parallels to the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It uses thinking routines such as "See/Think/Wonder", "Circle of Viewpoints", and "Claim/Support/Question". There is also a graphic organizer in the shape of a door that allows students to record the connections they see between the piece of art and the novel. This lesson can be used after Chapter 25 or at the end of the novel.