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
Teaching for Community without a Classroom: Leveraging Digital Museum Resources for Distance Learning
This collection serves as a companion resource for the Community Works Institute conference series, Teaching for Community without a Classroom.
The session will introduce participants to the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a free platform that gives users access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian and beyond, as well as the tools to create interactive learning experiences with them. This session will also include an activity exploring Luis Cruz Azaceta's "Shifting States: Iraq" to help students think critically and globally, as well as techniques to consider personal experiences and their connection to museum resources.
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, examples of activities using museum objects and personal stories, and supporting materials. 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.
Keywords: #CommunityInVirtualEd, #LatinoHAC, Latinx, Latino, global competency, competencies, CWI, 3ys
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!
This playlist on the 1920s is designed for self-guided learning with intermittent check-ins for middle school age students. The learning tasks are divided over five days, designed for 30-35 minutes per day, and build on each other. However, students are able to work on this playlist at their own pace. They will engage with primary and secondary sources as well as online exhibitions, videos, and written texts. Students can complete the tasks online by connecting through Google classroom for each formative and summative assessment.
By the end of the week, students will create an original art piece to express their understanding of the social, cultural and economic changes of the 1920s.
- Formative assessments are represented by a chevron (Learning Check Ins and Daily Check Ins).
- Google Doc versions of all formative and summative assessments are in the tiles immediately after the digital versions.
Built or natural, densely populated or sparsely inhabited, the landscape around us always affects us. Artists across the world and throughout all periods of human history have represented or incorporated landscape.
This collection uses artworks from the collection of The Rockwell Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate museum located in Corning, NY. American art is particularly defined by landscapes since the lands America comprises are unique and diverse. In this collection we demonstrate how landscape permeates art by indigenous Americans, Hudson River School artists and contemporary artists. Explore this collection to learn how these varied representations of landscapes compare and contrast. There may be more similarities across different periods of history than you might have imagined.
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.