Found 578 Learning Lab Collections
This Learning Lab collection has been created in conjunction with the Hispanic Heritage Month: Understanding the American Experience professional development workshop, hosted by the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Workshop Description: Whether you are a teacher of social studies, English, Spanish, or visual arts, this program will add nuance and depth to your classroom. Educators will learn how to use art and portraiture by Latino artists or of Latino figures to enhance their students’ understanding of our collective American history.
This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account. If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here.
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.
Creation myths, or origin stories, tell us what a culture believes about how humans came to be. They can also tell us much about what that culture values. These are often religious or spiritual explanations for human life.
Choose one of origin stories on this page to focus on. Read, watch, or listen to the story. Then, create a visual that illustrates a scene in the story that you think is revealing about that culture's values. Finally, write a paragraph summarizing what you learned about that culture based on their origin story.
1. Read/watch listen.
2. Create a visual of 1 scene in the story.
3. Write a paragraph summarizing what you learned about that culture based on their origin story.
With this collection, students can explore people's stories of moving to a new country or culture, 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.
Why do people move to a new country or place? Historians explore people's stories to try to understand their motivations and experiences. In this activity, students consider six "moving stories" from people across the globe over a span of about 100 years, to try to better understand what their moving experience was like.
This lesson makes an important connection to novel The Westing Game which uses clues from the lyrics of "America the Beautiful."
As students read, they will discover that certain clues from the novel make up the lyrics from "America the Beautiful." Students can analyze the lyrics by looking at locations that served as source of inspiration for the original poem by Katherine Lee Bates. They can fill out the attached worksheet as they "travel" through Bates's journey across the country which served as her inspiration.
Student can then do a Think / Puzzle / Explore with "Electronic Superhighway" by Nam Jun Paik. They can discuss what served as inspiration for this artist's depiction of the United States. They can make connections between Paik and Bates. What did their creations say about the country? What is similar or different about their work or interpretations?
The artwork can then serve as a catalyst for student creative writing. Students will write their own short stories as if the artwork is a time/travel warp to the depictions of whatever state(s) they choose to visit.
Overall, students will examine the vast beauty of the United States through a variety of information.
Plains Native people have always depicted star images on their clothing, tipis, and containers.
Formative Task: In a class discussion list three ways Western cultures think about stars. Use this collection to discover what stars mean to the Lakota and other Native people.
Summative Performance Task: Use the star quilt pattern to create a symbolic quilt that represents your school.
This collection comes from a set of lessons plans to introduce students to the culture of Puerto Rico by looking at customs and objects - specifically masks - connected to the annual celebration of Carnival. The lessons are split into four levels, covering grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. They were originally adapted from a set of activities that appeared in Our Story in History: A Puerto Rican Carnival, a website produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History - also shown in a link inside the collection, along with instructions for students to make their own masks. The lessons include objects from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, and the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.
The Romantic Era can be characterized as a time for "release." The writers at the time embraced nature and considered nature to hold the truth. The Romantic era was also a backlash against "the enlightenment values of reason in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789." (metmuseum.org) This time period reflected the blooming of America as a nation, there was strong anti-British sentiment and much excitement about democracy. The Romantic era highlighted the creative capabilities of America and is responsible for giving us literary giants such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
This collection contains assets and resources designed to help teachers (art, English, ESOL, social studies, and media technology), museum educators, and community-based informal learning educators recreate their own "Today I Am Here" project, based on the specific needs of their classroom or learning community.
The "Today I Am Here" book is a wonderful classroom activity, made from one sheet of paper, in which students can share their family stories. The design of the book works well for a K-5 classroom displays, and helps to show the breadth and diversity of the class and to encourage cross-cultural understanding. The project also works extremely well with ESOL students, although the teacher will need to be prepared for possible difficult issues to surface.
Included here are instructions to make the book, examples of student work (images and video of students reading), as well as images from classroom displays.
The book design is one of many available in another collection: Fun for the Whole Family: Making "Family Memory" Storybooks: http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/1tozk88HXhnFBU6d.
This collection includes instructions and ideas for a classroom activity designed to get children and their families talking and creating together. It is suitable for K-5 classrooms, as an art, English, or social studies-based activity. Included here are examples of student work (images and video of students reading their books), as well as images from classroom displays.
In this activity, a 1st grade teacher from a bilingual school in Washington, D.C., used what we called the "Connections" handmade storybook design to have her students share important family lessons. She described how she did the activity: "I loved the book project and found that it was a way to get parents involved in making a book with their child at home. I pre-made the books since I thought the instructions were a little tricky. The instructions were to discuss and write about a Life Lesson that their families taught them. Our students created bilingual Spanish/English books. The format was perfect for this because it could be English on one side and Spanish on the other. Students enjoyed hanging their books up outside of the class for others to read and then sharing them with the class. It really helped them to understand what important life lessons families teach them and it helped to bring students' home knowledge into the classroom. We connected the books to our Life Lessons unit and plan to do the same thing this year."
This project is based on a handmade book design that can be found, along with several others, in another collection: Fun for the Whole Family: Making "Family Memory" Storybooks: http://learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/1tozk88HXhnFBU6d.
This collection includes several images that could be used as starting points for students to engage in a dialogue about the complexities of HIV/AIDS. I would very much encourage students to be given choice when exploring a topic from an interdisciplinary approach, but often it can be helpful to provide a starting point. Works of art can be used, as there are opportunities for students to engage in conversations in pairs or small/large groups about multifaceted issues such as this. A painting or photograph can provide a low-risk way of beginning a discussion about challenging topics.
Students should feel free to use other areas of knowledge beyond what I have included such as Geography and History or more detailed topics such as stigma or virology. Data from the local Department of Health could also be used in addition to or in place of the Gapminder HIV Chart. To see a sample exploration that could be used in place of a much larger interdisciplinary exploration, please see the collection titled "The Global Implications of HIV/AIDS."
What was the role of Science in the construction of race? How can various written works and works of art begin a conversation about race as a social construct? These series of activities allow for a dialogue about this complex issue.
This collection includes a three-part activity that can be modified by choosing to spend more or less time sharing out as a group and whether TED Talks are watched as a class or individually as preparation for class.
Part I begins with a work of art to stimulate thought using the Project Zero Thinking Routine "See-Think-Wonder." Students will then read an article and view an advertisement. Another thinking routine is used here to uncover the complexities of this particular advertisement. In the next parts, students view TED Talks followed by different kinds of media. Several Project Zero Thinking Routines can be used to stimulate and record thinking.
Part I: Identifying the focus and beginning a conversation
Starting with an artwork by Byron Kim and Glenn Ligon, students use the "See-Think-Wonder" Project Zero Thinking Routine to try and make sense of the image. After a class discussion, students should be guided to read a short article about skin-colored ballet shoes that would be more representative of the skin tones of actual ballet dancers. Teachers could choose to help students digest this article or move directly into the Ivory soap advertisement. Using the "Beauty and Truth" Project Zero Thinking Routine, students can uncover the underlying complexity of this image.
Part II: The evolution of skin color and telling the story of a work of art
After viewing the TEDTalk by Nina Jablonski about the illusion of skin color, students can reflect individually by answering the question "Why is it problematic to view race as a biological concept and categorize individuals based on skin color?" Then, using Project Zero’s "The Story Routine," students can create meaning for a work of art. Students can share out in pairs first or simply share out to the whole group depending on class size, etc.
Part III: Photography, an essay on color and race and a work of art from that essay
Angelica Dass’s photography challenges how we think about skin color and ethnic identity. The TEDTalk describes her Humanae project and allows for further dialogue about the complexity of skin color. Teachers could choose to help students identify important aspects of the talk or move directly into silent reading of Zora Neale Hurston’s essay "How It Feels to be Colored Me." Students can use the "Step inside-step out-step back" Project Zero Thinking Routine to identify perspectives addressed in this essay. Glenn Ligon created a work of art using this essay and students can use this piece to further the conversation with the same thinking routine or simply as part of the reflection. A final reflection about skin color and the social construct of race can be completed either as a group or individually using the "I Used to think…; But Now I Think…" thinking routine. Teachers should consider providing a more focused prompt that suits the goals/objectives of their lesson.
Dorothea Lange took images of the bread lines during the Great Depression, migrant workers displaced, destitute families, Japanese internment camps, and the removal of a town in Monicello, CA. Her work inspired others to put themselves in the shoes of the very poor and the displaced, humanizing their predicament, with the hope of leading to social justice and change.
February 25th, 1896, the 15th amendment was passed by the House Of Representative with a vote 144-44. The 15th Amendment states" The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race,color,or previous condition of servitude".
This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Without Edgar Allan Poe, we wouldn't have Sherlock Holmes. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account. If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here.
Each item in this collection reflects the changing culture of America between the two World Wars. As we read The Great Gatsby and Of Mice and Men, consider how these pieces show the change of mindset across the decades.
Your task: select 5 artifacts and write a short paragraph for each saying how the object relates to 1) the era it is from, 2) to two texts, and 3) the other objects in you collection. Do not answer the three items like a list; rather, think about having your entire paragraph answer these questions: Why did I choose this object for this collection? What does it add to the whole? How can I interpret this object for the visitors of my gallery?
For your writing voice, sound authoritative, like a museum placard (those little signs next to objects). You do not need direct text evidence, but you do need to reference one or both of the texts.
This collection of artifacts and images represent visual evidence of the struggle for Civil Rights and include images from the March on Washington in August of 1963.
This unit explores different historical artifacts and the stories they tell. Students will investigate a range of objects, ranging from prescriptions to buffalo hides sourced from different Smithsonian collections.
Guiding Questions: How do humans shape the narrative of History? Whose History is being told? Is it possible to have multiple versions of the “past”?
The collection consists of 5 sets of artifacts, connected by some aspect such as culture, time period, event or movement. However, these objects each tell a very different story.
Working individually, in pairs or in small groups, students choose a set to explore. The students spend time quietly and carefully looking at the sources and investigate what they can tell us about our world, both locally and globally. This activity encourages students to reveal the multiple layers of meaning in an artifact from the most visible story to what it helps us to understand about the lives of our fellow human beings.
Students can share their ideas in pairs, or small groups, before coming together as whole class to share their findings.
Time: 40-60 minutes
As a follow up activity, students reflect on what new connections and information they discovered, new ideas that came to light, and what they found puzzling.
Students can complete the handout individually, in pairs or groups.
Time: 30-50 minutes depending on the length of the follow up discussion.
It might be interesting for students to watch the brief video included, where anthropologist Candace Green and curator Emil Her Many Horses, discuss the Lakota Winter Count as a form of historical record.
The duration of the video is just under 5 minutes.
For more information about the thinking routines visit:
Print culture in and before the 17th century, before 1865 to be exact, took the world by storm. It shows the developlment of human communication, political expression, it provides a sense of self worth, and it holds a vital role in today's society. In this collection, each photograph will show the advancement in human intellectuality, advancement in technology, and advancement in creativity and self-expression. This collection will have not only literary pieces and documents, but will also have paintings and photographs.
Transcendentalism is a philosophy that is rooted in the belief that man is inherently good but has been corrupted by society. Self reliance, self improvement, and peaceful protest were some methods practiced to reverse this effect.
Linked in this collection are examples of the movement's influence in society, writings, and art.
These are images from the Great Depression which fit the time period of the novel.