Found 478 Learning Lab Collections
This student activity begins with an analysis of two portraits of James Baldwin by different artists. Then, students are asked to create their own portrait of Baldwin by remixing source material from this collection. Student portraits should answer the following questions:
1. How do you think James Baldwin should be remembered?
2. What are Baldwin's contributions to American life and culture?
Students may need to do additional research on Baldwin and his life in order to complete this assessment. This is an opportunity for students to learn about and explore the life of a revolutionary writer who presents a unique view of the civil rights movement and status of African-Americans in the United States.
This student activity includes a variety of types of propaganda related to World War I. The United States government took great action when it came to World War I—they helped organize workers, recruit military members, and regulate the economy so that American could have a successful impact on the war. The Committee of Public Information formed by George Creel and other propaganda-producers used advertising techniques from businesses to make appeals to the average citizen and encourage them to make a difference. This assignment will ask you to connect each piece of propaganda to one of four major goals of the U.S. government during the war and to analyze a few specific pieces for author, audience, purpose, and even the medium/form.
Essential questions include:
- What are the four main goals of the government during World War I?
- Why and how did propaganda creators target specific audiences with their messages?
- What are the effects of changing the medium or form of propaganda on how it might be received?
Tags: World War I, WWI, selective service, draft, liberty bonds, propaganda, music, Uncle Sam, persuasive writing, cause effect
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
Each item in this collection matches a part of the New Deal. Students must justify their answer using evidence in the image.
lead investigator of the FBI (federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States) from 1935 to 1972
This student activity teaches students about the Chinese creation story of Pangu and introduces them to other common symbols in ancient Chinese mythology.
Guiding questions include:
-How does this story compare to other creation myths you may know? Are there common elements?
-In what way does this story reflect a distinctly Chinese culture or system of belief?
Tags: Pan gu, Panku, creation, origin, myth, compare contrast, yin yang, Taoism, Daoism, Buddhism, Buddhism, Confucius, Laozi, dragon, qilin, turtle, phoenix, ancient China, religion
For each of the images in the collection, determine which New Deal organization it is representing. Think about whether that organization is a good example of relief, recovery, or reform. Some images can be used in more than one way, so be prepared to defend and explain your answers to the class.
This is a collection of artifacts representing geometric motifs in Islamic art. Students will learn why these complex patterns are so prevalent in Islamic art, practice spotting different types of patterns, and begin to create their own, using just a ruler and a compass. They will also have an opportunity to explore the concept of tessellation using an interactive tool.
tags: geometry, circle, angle, star, mosque, mihrab, tile, Muslim, Islam, religion
This collection contains resources – photographs, paintings, objects, documents, and more – representing familial ideas and themes that a student could be proud of. This collection is part of an activity for Tween Tribune tied to a student reading of the article For Nearly 150 Years, This One House Told a Novel Story About the African-American Experience. A lesson plan is included in "Notes to Other Users," click on the (i) tab in the upper-right to learn more.
This student activity includes a set of archival documents from the United Shoe Machinery Corporation. These documents can be used as resources to help students investigate the relationship between industry, education, and immigration in the early 20th century.
As students explore the collection, they should consider how each document helps them answer the following questions:
-Is it in the best interests of business to encourage citizenship and education? Why or why not?
-What do these materials say about what it means to be considered "American" in the early 20th century?
tags: school, learning, English, language, migration, Ellis Island, manufacturing, Progressives
This collection contains images, lithographs, and written documents pertaining to the period of Reconstruction. Reconstruction marks the period in American history beginning in 1863 and lasting through 1877. This collection will help to better understand the role Reconstruction played in re-establishing race relations and enfranchising African Americans, but also the struggles African Americans faced in upholding their rights. People who view this collection will be able to analyze and respond to the question "Was Reconstruction successful?" #TeachingInquiry
Mr. Rogers is quoted as saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." This collection will give students a framework to "look for the helpers"--the people who are trying to change society for the better during difficult times. Students will be introduced to a variety of strategies and tactics used in social movements, and consider how these might apply to an area of their own interest.
Included is a chart listing possible strategies for social movements that encourages students to find examples of tactics/strategies from the collection and determine the goals of each.
Opportunities for extension include:
Identify a social movement that relies on more than one strategy (most do). Can you create a "recipe" listing the various tactics used to create a successful movement?
Who is involved? Choose one of the examples from above to study further. Who was involved in that particular tactic or strategy? Consider different occupations (teacher, writer, church leader, student, mother) and also different demographics (gender, race, age, ethnicity, etc.)
What's missing? Are there strategies that you have encountered in your research that don't fit into this chart?
Ask students to identify which type of balance is represented in each artwork:
- Symmetrical balance
- Radial balance
- Asymmetrical balance
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
Attention-grabbing headlines don't always tell truth!
Pictures are powerful, sometimes edited!
Twitter doesn't tell whole story.
In the era of "fake news" and information overload, we all need to become better readers of the words and pictures that are used to explain what is going on in the world around us. In this activity, students and teachers will consider:
How can the choice of image or words convey different messages about current events? How do journalists and editors shape the news through their choices?
This student activity asks students to look at several images of young people resisting a law or recent event. Their task is to write two different headlines for that image designed to appeal to different audiences. They will also be asked to research the context for the image and to consider how that might impact their headlines.
The goals of this lesson are to:
- explore image and word choice as news drivers (factors that make items newsworthy or appealing to readers)
- determine how journalists and editors shape the news through their choices
- encourage news literacy and a critical reading of headlines and photojournalism in the future.
An exploration of primary sources related to modernism and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.
In 2014-2015, artist and illustrator Maira Kalman created a personal collection that was displayed at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Her collection drew from across the Smithsonian museums and reflected a life story. Her inspiration and thinking is shared in the video resource that begins this collection, and some of the objects that she included (or similar ones) are shared.
Can you create your own collection of "favorite things"? What story would it tell? What people, places, and objects would it connect to? What emotions would it evoke?
tags: design, art, activity, personal, inspiration, creativity, biography
This collection explores a number of Supreme Court cases all looking at the rights students have in the American public school system. Students will encounter these court cases through primary and secondary sources, videos, photographs, podcasts, and historical objects. At the end of the lesson, students should be able construct an argument based off the compelling question "Are student rights protected in school?"
This collection asks students to examine an image entitled "Waiting for the Hour" and to try to determine its meaning and purpose. Students will practice interpretation with justification and then learn more about the history of "watch night services" and the importance of the 1862 watch night in United States history. They will also consider the legacy of this image--a copy is currently hanging in the White House.
tags: emancipation, freedom, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, proclamation
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonianlaw codeof ancient Mesopotamia, dating back to about 1754 BC (Middle Chronology). It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a seven and a half foot stone steleand various clay tablets. The code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man. The code was discovered by modern archaeologistsin 1901, and its editio princeps translation published in 1902 by Jean-Vincent Scheil. This nearly complete example of the code is carved into a basalt stele in the shape of a huge index finger 2.25 m (7.4 ft) tall. The code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, using cuneiform scriptcarved into the stele.
Something You should Know About Hammurabi's Code
In the 18th century B.C., the Babylonian King Hammurabi fashioned a compendium of 282 laws that set standards of conduct and justice for his empire in ancient Mesopotamia. Etched on an imposing seven-and-a-half-foot diorite pillar, or stele, the commands covered everything from property rights and criminal behaviour to slavery and divorce, and promised brutal punishments for all who disobeyed. These famous pre-Biblical laws helped shape Babylonian life in Hammurabi's time, but their influence would echo throughout the ancient world for over a millennia. Below, find out more about the fascinating history behind one of antiquity's most important legal codes.
It's not the earliest known code of laws.
Hammurabi's dictates are often cited as the oldest written laws on record, but they were predated by at least two other ancient codes of conduct from the Middle East. The earliest, created by the Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu of the city of Ur, dates all the way back to the 21st century B.C., and evidence also shows that the Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin was drawn up nearly two centuries before Hammurabi came to power. These earlier codes both bear a striking resemblance to Hammurabi's commands in their style and content, suggesting they may have influenced one another or perhaps even derived from a similar source.
The Code included many bizarre and gruesome forms of punishment.
Hammurabi's Code is one of the most famous examples of the ancient precept of "lex talionis," or law of retribution, a form of retaliatory justice commonly associated with the saying "an eye for an eye." Under this system, if a man broke the bone of one his equals, his own bone would be broken in return. Capital crimes, meanwhile, were often met with their own unique and grisly death penalties. If a son and mother were caught committing incest, they were burned to death; if a pair of scheming lovers conspired to murder their spouses, both were impaled. Even a relatively minor crime could earn the offender a horrific fate. For example, if a son hit his father, the Code demanded the boy's hands be "hewn off."
The laws varied according to social class and gender.
Hammurabi's Code took a brutal approach to justice, but the severity of criminal penalties often depended on the identity of both the lawbreaker and the victim. While one law commanded, "If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out," committing the same crime against a member of a lower class was punished with only a fine. Other rank-based penalties were even more significant. If a man killed a pregnant "maid-servant," he was punished with a monetary fine, but if he killed a "free-born" pregnant woman, his own daughter would be killed as retribution. The Code also listed different punishments for men and women with regard to marital infidelity. Men were allowed to have extramarital relationships with maid-servants and slaves, but philandering women were to be bound and tossed into the Euphrates along with their lovers.
The Code established a minimum wage for workers.
Hammurabi's Code was surprisingly ahead of its time when it came to laws addressing subjects like divorce, property rights and the prohibition of incest, but perhaps most progressive of all was a stipulation mandating an ancient form of minimum wage. Several edicts in the Code referenced specific occupations and dictated how much the workers were to be paid. Field laborers and herdsmen were guaranteed a wage of "eight gur of corn per year," and ox drivers and sailors received six gur. Doctors, meanwhile, were entitled to 5 shekels for healing a freeborn man of a broken bone or other injury, but only three shekels for a freed slave and two shekels for a slave.
The Code includes one of the earliest examples of the presumption of innocence.
While it's notorious for its catalogue of barbaric punishments, Hammurabi's Code also set several valuable legal precedents that have survived to this day. The compendium is among the earliest legal documents to put forth a doctrine of "innocent until proven guilty." In fact, the Code places the burden of proof on the accuser in extreme fashion when it says, "If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death." The Code also includes a modern take on judicial procedures.
Historians are still unsure of the role the Code played in Babylonian culture.
Hammurabi's Code offers a valuable glimpse into what daily life in ancient Babylonia might have been like, but just how the laws functioned in society is still up for debate. The statutes could have been a list of amendments to an even earlier and more expansive set of general laws, but they might also have acted as a set of judicial precedents compiled from real world cases. Some historians have even argued the Code was not a working legal document at all, but rather a piece of royal propaganda created to enshrine Hammurabi as a great and just ruler.
The Code endured even after Babylon was conquered.
Hammurabi's empire went into decline after his death in 1750 B.C. before unraveling entirely in 1595 B.C., when a Hittite army sacked Babylon and claimed its riches. Nevertheless, Hammurabi's Code proved so influential that it endured as a legal guide in the region for several centuries, even as rule over Mesopotamia repeatedly switched hands. Copying the Code also appears to have been a popular assignment for scribes-in-training. In fact, fragments of the laws have been found on clay tablets dating to as late as the 5th century B.C.—more than 1,000 years after Hammurabi's reign.
The laws weren't rediscovered until the 20th century.
Hammurabi's edicts were a fixture of the ancient world, but the laws were later lost to history and weren't rediscovered until 1901, when a team of French archeologists unearthed the famous diorite stele at the ancient city of Susa, Iran, once the seat of the Elamite Empire. Historians believe the Elamite King Shutruk-Nahhunte plundered the four-ton slab during a 12th century B.C. raid on the Babylonian city of Sippar and then brought it to Susa as a treasure of war. Shutruk-Nahhunte is thought to have erased several columns from the monument to make space for his own inscription, but no text was ever added. Today, the pillar is kept on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
This collection includes three photographs by Farm Security Administration artists that use language and image to create an American scene in the late 1930s-early 1940s. The first has become an iconic image of the Great Depression by Margaret Bourke-White, although it has a more specific history that users will learn about. Students will be asked to consider why the first image became so closely linked with the Great Depression, how the artist and author used irony to make a statement, and how different groups may have experienced the Depression in different ways. After reading a passage from Bud Not Buddy (by Christopher Paul Curtis) and answering reflective questions, students will write their own passage about one of the remaining photographs.
-How do these artists use images and language to create rich portraits of America?
-In what way do these images suggest divisions or unity within America during hte 1930s and 1940s?
Tags: Bud Not Buddy, Margaret Bourke White, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Farm Security Administration, soup kitchen, bread line, hobo, hoboes, comparison, irony, descriptive writing
How did apartheid affect the lives of blacks living in Johannesburg in the late 1940s and early 1950s? What was the purpose of forced removal?
This student activity uses the examination of historical photographs as an entry point to learning about the forced removal of blacks from urban areas to townships & homelands under apartheid in South Africa. The images here are all from Sophiatown and Soweto. What details emerge about the life changes that resulted from being moved? What questions remain?
Soap is a common household chemical used around the world. Using the See/Think/Wonder visible thinking tool, this collection explores:
- The history of soap,
- Why Ivory soap floats,
- Why soap can be used for cleaning, and
- How is soap made.
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?